What is Diarrhoea?
A Diarrhoea refers to bowel movements wherein one experiences more frequent loose and watery stools than usual. Usually, it occurs in almost everyone once in a while, and there is nothing to be worried about unless the cause is related to other underlying health issues. Approximately 2 billion cases of diarrhoea are observed in the world every year.
However,diarrhoea should not be left unsupervised or untreated as it can be life-threatening. Notably, it is the second leading cause of death among children below the age of 5 years, with about 1.9 million children losing their lives annually.
Causes of Diarrhoea
1. Stress or anxiety
Stress and anxiety are the primary causes of diarrhoea. Extreme stress often impacts the physical health of a person, possibly leading to conditions like diarrhoea.
2. Infection caused by virus or bacteria
Infection by viruses and bacteria, such as enteric adenovirus, astrovirus, rotavirus, viral hepatitis and E can cause diarrhoea and loose motion
3. Infected food
The consumption of contaminated food can introduce parasites into the body, resulting in diarrhoea or other health issues. Usually, packaged food that is ordered or eaten outside tends to get contaminated if it is prepared under unhygienic conditions.
4. Infected water
Drinking water infected by disease-causing pathogens can result in severe consequences like diarrhoea, further causing critical stomach problems.
5. Side effects of some medicines
Most antibiotics help in eliminating the disease. But in many cases, these medications allow the growth of a type of bacteria called Clostridiales that can cause severe diarrhoea loose motions
Symptoms of Diarrhoea
1. Abdominal cramps or pain
Unexpected abdominal cramps and pain after eating food may imply that a person has diarrhoea. It can also be a telltale of a stomach bug or infection.
Another sign of diarrhoea is bloating. When the stool stays longer in the colon, it gives the bacteria more time to affect other body parts, resulting in gas and bloating.
Nausea is one of the common symptoms of loose motion and diarrhoea.One may feel nauseous and weak for a couple of days. However, if it lasts longer than that, then it is better to visit a doctor. >
When diarrhoea arises from bacterial or microbes infection, it can cause food poisoning and adversely affect a person's physical health - which may, in turn, cause vomiting.
When someone with diarrhoea feels nauseous or experiences bloating and stomach cramps, accompanied by high fever, it may indicate that they have a stomach bug or flu.
6. Blood in the stool
Blood in the stool may occur if a person has diarrhoea because of a bacterial infection. It is better to consult a doctor rather than treat it on their own.
7. Mucus in the stool
Diarrhoea can cause mucus in the stool due to eating highly contaminated food, which leads to intestinal infection.
8. Urgent need to have a bowel movement
One may feel the urgent need to rush to the washroom after eating or drinking something, especially contaminated food, to empty the stomach contents when suffering from diarrhoea
Effective ways to manage Diarrhoea
Diarrhoea can cause vomiting, resulting in the body losing a large amount of water. The easiest way to deal with diarrhoea is to stay hydrated.
Certain probiotics facilitate the growth of good bacteria in the intestinal tract and help in diarrhoea treatment. Available in the form of liquid or capsules, probiotics are easily available at chemists and drug stores.
3. Over-the-counter drugs
Loose motion medicine and diarrhoea medicine can assist one in handling diarrhoea by preventing it with the help of antibiotics.
4. Foods to eat
Including low-fibre and semisolid food in one’s diet, e.g., rice, soda crackers and toast, helps treat the symptoms of diarrhoea. Fibre helps regulate and ease bowel movements and acts as a natural laxative, thus increasing the speed of food movement through the digestive tract.
5. Foods to avoid
Avoid fatty foods, dairy products, high-fibre foods and packaged or processed food items at all costs while undergoing diarrhoea treatment.
Home Treatment Remedies for Diarrhoea
1. Mustard seeds
Mustard seeds are known for their antibacterial properties. Soak half a teaspoon of mustard seeds in two teaspoons of water for 1 hour. Filter the water and drink it two to three times per day.
Lemon is very effective and improves digestion. It promotes and boosts the digestive system for better functioning. Squeeze a lemon in a glass of water and mix a pinch of salt in it, and drink this fluid frequently.
Pomegranate aids in calming an upset tummy as it has anti-inflammatory effects to deal with stomach and intestinal issues.
4. Methi or Fenugreek seeds
A well-known remedy for diarrhoea treatment, methi helps in reducing it with its high mucilage content. Chew on half a teaspoon of methi or fenugreek seeds to lessen the bowel movements.
With its antibacterial properties, honey helps in recovering fast from diarrhoea. One can consume one or two spoons of honey directly or make a drink by mixing it with water.
Buttermilk helps in easing bowel movements owing to the good bacteria it possesses. Drink it once or twice a day to relieve the symptoms of diarrhoea
Sabudana, or sago, made with spices provides a cooling effect to the stomach. It is an energy-packed option that is filled with carbohydrates.
8. Prepare a healthy drink
Cucumber helps ease stool movements owing to its low calories and high water, while spinach is a good source of fibre. Mix a handful of spinach with cucumber (5-cm piece) and celery leaves; add half an apple to it and blend to get a smooth consistency.
9. Liquidate your body
The person infected with diarrhoea should drink a lot of water frequently as dehydration can lead to other health issues.
10. Mint and honey
Mix a teaspoon of mint juice with one teaspoon of honey in the warm water. Mint, with its calming and numbing effects combined with honey, helps one to get instant relief from diarrhoea and loose motion.
11. Bael leaf powder
Bael leaf contains tannins, coumarins and flavonoids - chemicals that aid in reducing inflammation. Mix half to one teaspoon of powder to one cup of warm water and sip it like tea once or twice a day.
12. Bottle gourd juice
Bottle gourd helps improve bowel movements and keeps the stomach clean. You can drink a bottle of this juice to speed up the diarrhoea treatment
13. Dry ginger powder
Powdered ginger is one of the natural and easy ways for diarrhoea treatment. They fasten up the movement of food in the gastrointestinal tract, all while keeping the gut safe.
14. Take rest
Resting will aid in bowel movements and prevent diarrhoea from spreading to others. Stay hydrated and take utmost care of yourself.
15. Raw papaya
Papaya is good for digestion and helps in easing indigestion and upset stomach. As a good source of fibre, consuming papaya is an excellent way to cure diarrhoea
Tips to avoid Diarrhoea
1. Bottled water
Drinking only bottled water reduces the risk of consuming contaminated water. Keep bottled water handy for chores like brushing and gargling, if possible.
2. Street vendor food avoidance
Limiting the consumption of oily and fried food from street vendors can help avoid diarrhoea
3. Raw foods
Avoid consuming raw or undercooked meat or chicken. Raw food can cause bacterial infection in the stomach and result in diarrhoea
4. Pre-packed food
Pre-packed food is responsible for many ailing and severe stomach problems. This is mainly because the conditions under which the food was processed and packed are unknown.
Pollution has heavily contaminated water bodies and consuming seafood from such water sources can result in health issues like diarrhoea.
When to See a Doctor?
Diarrhoea is a common health anomaly nowadays. One does not need to visit a doctor for diarrhoea treatment if it is mild and does not stay for long; usually, it goes away if one keeps a check on their eating habit and uses the above-mentioned home remedies. But if a person has a high fever along with nausea and stomach pain, it is advisable to make an appointment with the doctor. When diarrhoea and loose motion do not improve in 2-3 days, it may indicate other severe underlying diseases, like IBS (Irritable Bowel System) or some type of stomach infection.