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Diarrhea

StomachacheDiarrhea is a condition of abnormally frequent and unsually fluid, unformed stool. Diarrhea may be brought on by a number of factors including: anxiety, diet, ingestion of certain drugs, the flu, bacterial infections, parasitic infections, and inflammation of the intestinal lining.

Symptoms

Diarrhea may be characterized by abdominal cramps, nausea and possibly vomiting coupled with frequent elimination of stools, ranging from 3 to 20 a day. Patients suffering from diarrhea often have a loss of appetite, and extreme weakness from fluid loss. If the condition has been present for several days and the patient has been unable to take in sufficient food and fluid to counter the amounts lost, evidence of dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, or starvation may be present.
Management/Treatment

Management of severe cases of diarrhea requires a precise knowledge of its cause, and treatment by a physician. Less severe cases, however, may be managed by: avoiding foods that cause irritation, eating bland foods with a gradual return to an ordinary diet, and using pectins (obtained from citrius fruits or apple pulp) two or three times daily inorder to absorb excess fluid. In most conditions, diphenoxylate with atropine (Lomotil) is the medication of choice for diarrhea management due to its convenience, low toxicity, and effectiveness.

Diarrhea may be a problem on road trips, particularly with indiscriminate or irregular eating. Also, prolonged cases of diarrhea can cause unstable vital signs from metabolic shock.

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