Acute diarrhea can be caused by germs (salmonella, colibacilli), parasites (amoebae) or viruses (enteroviruses), and can last from one to seven Days (or sometimes longer). They contract by ingesting infected water or food. Beyond the discomfort caused by acute diarrhea, the risk of dehydration is the main danger especially for the infant and the frail people.
CAUSES OF DIARRHEASeveral causes can cause chronic diarrhea problems:
- Intestinal wall injury due to inflammation or tumor
- Food malabsorption (gluten intolerance)
- Hyperactivity of intestinal transit (often caused by hyperthyroidism)
- Pathological secretion of the intestinal epithelium (secretory diarrhea)
In cases of chronic diarrhea it is important to clearly identify the cause in order to undertake the appropriate treatment. Consultation with a health professional is indicated.
SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS
- FREQUENT STOOLS
- LOOSE OR LIQUID STOOLS
Chronic diarrhea is characterized by the frequent emission of liquid (or very soft) stools over a fairly long period of time ranging from eight to twenty days or more.
When suffering from acute diarrhea, we should avoid irritating foods or foods that could cause abdominal cramps as these foods can aggravate the symptoms. Once the intestinal transit time is back to normal, these foods should be integrated back into the diet progressively. In fact, we aim at giving the digestive system a break.
Foods to be best avoided are:
- dairy products
- raw fruits or vegetables (except bananas)
- whole grain cereal products
- strong spices
- fatty or fried foods
- desserts and candies
Vegetable broths, rice and cooked vegetables should be privileged. Once the symptoms have considerably reduced, the cereals should be first reintroduced, such as white bread and rice. Only once the symptoms are completely gone should whole grains be consumed, because taken too soon, they could irritate the already fragile intestines. If we digest these foods easily, raw fruits and vegetables can be reintroduced, followed by dairy products and finally meats.
The water from rice cooking is very beneficial to help stabilize diarrhea. To obtain it, cook rice in much more water than necessary for at least 30 minutes. Then separate the rice from the water and cool it down. Drink small amounts of this water many times daily. To avoid dehydration, a simple but effective recipe is to mix equal amounts of pulp-free orange juice to pure water and add half a teaspoon of salt. Drink slowly throughout the day to supply your body with the necessary electrolytes and help rehydration.
Wash you hands frequently, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating or before cooking. If the diarrhea is associated with antibiotics, allow two hours between taking the antibiotic and taking the probiotics.