Diarrhoea is a condition in which the stools or bowel movements are watery and loose. It is a common condition as many people suffer from diarrhoea a few times a year. Usually, diarrhoea is not a serious problem and resolves within 2-3 days even without medications.
However, at times diarrhoea recurs more often or is accompanied by other troublesome symptoms. As an aid, this article will throw light on how to quickly get rid of an acute episode of diarrhoea as well as the tendency to develop it often.
What are the common causes of diarrhoea?
Diarrhoea happens due to either reduced absorption of water by the large intestine or increased water secretion into the intestines. Acute diarrhoea is when an episode of diarrhoea lasts for less than two weeks. It is mainly the result of viral infection and is self-limiting. Chronic diarrhoea is when an episode of diarrhoea is for more than two weeks. It is mainly the result of noninfectious causes.
The common causes of diarrhoea are:-
- Viral infection of the gut
- Excessive intake of alcohol
- Allergic reaction to certain food items
- Certain intestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Certain food items that easily irritate the digestive system
- Food poisoning which occurs due to intestinal infection by main bacteria or even other organisms
- Excessive intake of laxatives
- Certain medications
- Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid gland
- Radiation therapy
- Runner’s diarrhoea the cause of which is unknown
- Certain cancers
- Surgery on the digestive system
- Malabsorption or trouble in absorbing certain nutrients in food
- Diarrhoea may also occur after constipation, especially in people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome
What are the signs and symptoms of diarrhoea?
Common signs and symptoms of diarrhoea are:-
- Bloating of the abdomen
- Loose or thin stools
- Watery stools
- Urgent need to pass stools
- Nausea with or without vomiting
It is important to consult a doctor immediately if there are one or more of the following signs and symptoms of diarrhoea:-
- Black, tarry stools or blood in the stools
- High fever above 101F or fever that is present for more than 24 hours
- Diarrhoea which is present for more than 2days
- Nausea or vomiting that causes loss of fluids
- Severe pain especially in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen or anus
- Diarrhoea that began after returning from a foreign country.
What are the diagnostic tools for diarrhoea?
After taking initial history and performing a physical examination to detect any signs and symptoms of dehydration the doctor may advise the following test to find out the cause of dehydration:-
Blood tests- To detect the presence of certain disorders and diseases
Stool test- To detect the presence of any parasite or bacteria
Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy- This is rarely advised to check the inside of the entire colon (colonoscopy) or just the lower part of the colon (sigmoidoscopy) with the help of a flexible and thin tube that has a tiny camera and light. This device can also be used to take a small tissue sample for biopsy.
What are the complications of diarrhoea?
If one has watery stools more than 3 times a day without taking enough fluids to compensate for the lost fluids one is likely to get dehydrated. This can have serious consequences if left untreated.
Signs of dehydration are:-
- Dark colored urine
- Less than the usual amount of urine or fewer than the usual number of wet diapers in a child.
- Fast heart rate
- Dryness of skin
What are the management tips for diarrhoea?
Certain tips are effective in managing cases of diarrhoea. These are:-
- Take plenty of rest
- Drink plenty of fluids- As the body loses water every time one passes stool it becomes important to replace the lost fluids with adequate water intake. It is advised to take 8-12 cups or 2-3 litres of fluids daily during diarrhoea episodes. One can have fluids in form of broth, fruit juice or water throughout the day to stay hydrated. It is advised to have water in small sips between meals during diarrhoea instead of with meals. If one has nausea along with diarrhoea it is advised to drink water in sips slowly.
- To replace potassium, salt and other lost electrolytes one can take a sports drink or oral rehydration solution (ORS).
- BRAT diet which stands for Banana, Rice (white), Applesauce, and Toast is good to have during diarrhoea. Other good food choices include potato, skinless turkey or chicken, smooth peanut butter and yoghurt.
- One must avoid that can make gas or diarrhoea worse. These include raw vegetables and fruits, spicy food, cabbage, beans, fried and fatty food and caffeinated drinks such as soda and coffee.
What is the treatment for diarrhoea?
Usually, diarrhoea is a self-limiting disease and resolves within 2 days without the need for any medications. However, there are times when diarrhoea is accompanied by severe symptoms as mentioned above. Also in some cases, diarrhoea occurs very often which leads to even weight loss.
In such cases medical attention becomes important. Homeopathy has a significant role to play in getting rid of diarrhoea quickly and without any side effects. Homeopathic medicines not only help to treat the acute episode of diarrhoea safely and effectively but constitutional homeopathic medicines can even treat the underlying cause of frequently occurring diarrhoea.
For this, a trained homeopathic physician takes a detailed case record of the patient and elicits symptoms from both the physical and mental spheres for holistic treatment.
Common homeopathic medicines for diarrhoea
Arsenicum album– It is suitable to treat cases of diarrhea that arise from consuming decayed food. The person suffers from great restlessness, prostration which is out of proportion to the fluid lost, nightly aggravation of symptoms and frequent thirst for small sips of water. There may be burning pains that are relieved by the application of heat.
Podophyllum– This medicine has marked action on the duodenum, liver and rectum. It is suitable to treat diarrhoea that occurs in hot weather especially after eating acid fruits or during dentition. The diarrhoea may be long-standing and is worse early in the morning. The stools are profuse, watery, fetid and painless.
Aloes socotrina– It is suitable to treat cases of diarrhoea when there is a feeling of weakness and loss of control of the sphincter ani such that the patient does not know whether gas or stool will come. There is a lot of mucus in the stool and pain in the rectum after stool which is relieved by cold application.
Nux vomica– It is suitable to treat cases of diarrhoea that arise from taking excessive stimulants such as tea or coffee or consuming spicy and rich food in patients who lead a sedentary life and have a tendency which gets relieved on passing stools. Also, there is frequent but ineffective urging for stools in patients who need this remedy.
Croton tiglium– It is suitable to treat diarrhoea that alternate may alternate with skin complaints. The diarrhoea is copious, yellow and watery and the stools always forcibly shoot out. There is constantly urging to pass stools which aggravates drinking the least quantity of water or even while eating. The associated skin problem is typically vesicular or pustular in nature with intense itching that gets aggravated from scratching but is significantly better on rubbing gently.
Cydonia vulgaris– It is suitable to improve the function of the stomach and is helpful in preventing diarrhoea, dysentery, genital infections and any problems related to the mucus membrane such as thrush. In addition, it is used as an energy tonic and helps in revitalizing male sexual organs. It is used as a mother tincture. One can easily buy Dr Wilmar Schwabe’s Cydonia vulgaris mother tincture or Cydonia vulgaris 30c online as well for diarrhoea.
Diarrhoea refers to watery and loose stools. It is a common condition among people of all age groups. Diarrhoea is not a serious problem in most cases and it resolves within 2-3 days with proper management like rest, dietary management and maintaining adequate hydration.
However, at times diarrhoea continues for a long or recurs often. Such cases of chronic diarrhea are mainly non-infectious. Common causes of chronic diarrhoea are excessive intake of alcohol, food allergy, diabetes, certain intestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, food poisoning, hyperthyroidism, certain cancers and surgery on the digestive system.
Timely treatment of diarrhoea is important of it can lead to dehydration which is characterized by signs such as dark colored urine, less than the usual amount of urine, fast heart rate, headache, crankiness, dryness of skin and confusion.
Homeopathy helps to get rid of diarrhea quickly and without any side effects. It is advised to refer to a homeopathic physician for proper treatment of diarrhoea, especially in severe or chronic cases instead of self-drugging at home. Common homeopathic medicines for diarrhoea are available for online purchase in India.