Diarrhea is frequent watery or loose bowel movements that deviate from the normal pattern. The average adult has about four bouts a year. This is a more serious problem in young children and older adults. It is a very common cause of hospitalization for children. It accounts for 9% of the hospitalizing in the United for States for Children under five years old. This can be classified as acute or chronic. Acute diarrhea lasts less than 2 weeks and chronic lasts longer than 2 weeks. Most cases lasts for 2-3 days only.
What causes diarrhea?
Acute diarrhea is most commonly caused by viruses in the gastrointestinal tract, but can also be caused by antibiotic use, bacterial or parasitic infections, food allergies or food poisoning. A few points to keep in mind about the causes include:
- Viral infections present with diarrhea that lasts 2-3 days with no blood in the stool.
- Eating foods that bother the stomach and intestines. Sometimes keeping a food diary/bowel movement can help you determine which foods.
- Parasites such as Guardia can present with loss of appetite, abdominal bloating and cramping, and foul smelling stool.
- Some medications including laxatives, medications for heartburn, antibiotics, magnesium containing products and alcohol.
- Bacterial infections such as Clostridium difficile (often occurs after taking antibiotics), Camphylobacter and E. Coli (common cause of food poisoning). These infections are present with fever, blood in the stool and white blood cells noticed in the stool by the doctor.
- Food poisoning
- Dietary factors include: lactose intolerance, Lactose intolerance is associated with gas, bloating, explosive diarrhea.
- Breastfeeding can cause loose stools.
- Traveller’s diarrhea is common in those who go to Asia, Africa, central or south America and the Middle East.
- Partial bowel obstruction
- Constipation results in a hard stool that liquid stool can work its way around.
Diarrhea and probiotics
Good bacteria keeps the natural balance of organism or (flora) in your intestines. Probiotics are fast becoming a natural way to help prevent diarrhea caused by antibiotics. Antibiotics kill the bacteria that cause your illness. It also kills good bacteria that keeps your digestive system healthy. It is a symptom of intestinal problems caused by decreased (good bacteria); actually this decrease can also lead to vaginal yeast infection and urinary tract infections and disease.
Taking probiotics is a no brainer. It is the natural alternative to taking over the counter medicines. By taking probiotics you can keep your body healthy enough to take care of itself naturally and possibly prevent a number of illness or infections that may occur.
Probiotics supplements can help replenish the good bacteria, thus helping prevent diarrhea. They can also help prevent traveling diarrhea, Irritable bowel syndrome, as well as help prevent disease.