Diarrhea is an increase in the occurrence and fluidity (looseness) of stools, and one of the causes of diarrhea is too much water in the intestine. Naturally, the intestine processes an estimated 10 quarts (9.5 liters) of water daily, allowing only 3 to 4 ounces (90 to 120 milliliters) to reach the rectum; thus, when water fails to be absorbed from the intestine or is drawn into the intestine, diarrhea results. Here is a list of several causes of diarrhea:
Causes of Diarrhea
1. Failure of digestion: An example consists of a lack of lactase, which inhibits the digestion of lactose (milk, sugar), draws water into the intestine, and causes diarrhea. Diseases of the pancreas and malnutrition are the underlying causes.
2. Food sensitivities: As an example, the gliadin found in the gluten of individual grains (wheat, rye) has a toxic action on the villi of the intestinal mucosa, leading to, among other problems, watery diarrhea.
3. Infections of the digestive tract: So-called stomach flu or gastroenteritis may be due to viruses and bacteria (enteritis) in children, and usually to bacteria or parasites in adults. In enteritis, the inflamed mucosa pours out fluid, and intestinal contractions increase, propelling the fluid mass downward for evacuation.
Also, diarrhea results from the body’s attempt to rid itself of the infection. Salmonella and shigella frequently cause food poisoning, and Giardia and ameba are potential causes. Pathogenic colon bacilli and other organisms bring on “travelers’ diarrhea.” In some parts of the world, cholera and typhoid fever are among the causes of diarrhea.
5. Medications: Many medications tend to irritate the bowel wall. Antibiotics are among the most common causes of diarrhea. These medicines frequently kill off susceptible microorganisms in the intestine, thus upsetting the balance of organisms and promoting stomach cramps and diarrhea for a week or the treatment duration.
6. Emotional diarrhea: Anxiety and emotional stress excite the muscles and mucous glands in the lower colon, causing increased mucus and strong contractions that result in completely liquid stool and severe diarrhea.
7. Diseases of the digestive tract: Numerous diseases cause diarrhea, including ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, sprue, irritable colon, pancreatitis, cancer of the large intestine, and colon cancer diarrhea. Symptoms of diarrhea may vary from mildly loose stools to explosive diarrhea after eating, accompanied by cramping and abdominal pain, vomiting, fever, and blood-tinged to yellow burning stools.
Stomach Pain and Diarrhea Treatment
Usually, one should not treat mild diarrhea because the diarrhea is the body’s attempt to rid itself of the infection or irritation. If vomiting, abdominal pain, blood in the stools, and fever accompany your diarrhea, see your physician. However, if these symptoms are not present, you can utilize kaolin preparations with pectin or bismuth for often prompt relief.
Your physician might order a stool culture and do a rectal examination should he suspect some severe issue. Depending on the gravity of the crisis, he may advise intravenous fluids, an antibiotic, or medication, preventing diarrhea.
Suppose an antibiotic is among the causes of diarrhea. In that case, your doctor may change or discontinue it, and he may recommend that you take yogurt, cultured milk, or a powder of lactobacillus acidophilus to restore balance among the intestinal microflora.
Hardinge, Mervyn G. and Harold Shryock. “Family Medical Guide Volume III.” Ed. Marvin Moore and Bonnie Tyson-Fynn. Vol. III. Oshawa; Hagerstown; Washington D.C.: Pacific Press Publishing Association; Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1991. III vols. 134, 135.