Diarrhea - causes, symptoms and prevention

Diarrhoea is one of the top leading cause of death worldwide especially in children. It is  usually caused by a virus, or sometimes, contaminated food. Less frequently, it can be a sign of another disorder, such as inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome.

What is diarrhea

Diarrhea is the passage of watery stool of more than 2times in a day. 

Causes of diarrhea

  • Infected food/water
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Artificial sweetener
  • Abuse of laxatives
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Infection (virus, bacteria, parasite which cab be transmitted through contaminated food and water, or from person to person).
  • Bowel cancer
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

What are the symptoms of diarrhea

  • Frequent watery stool
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Gas or bloating 
  • Fever
  • Dehydration

How can diarrhea be prevented 

  • Vaccination: by getting rota virus vaccine for your children against diarrhea. This will prevent chances of having diarrhea to a barest minimum.
  • Hygiene: maintenance of good personal and food hygiene will prevent contamination of food there by preventing ingestion of the microbes.
  • Safe water: access to safe drinking-water
  • use of improved sanitation
  • Hand washing with soap after any activity especially after using restroom and before eating anything at all.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding of you baby for the first six months of life. 

How to treat diarrhea

Diarrhea is mostly self resolving disease that resolve within one or two days on its own. 
Home care to relieve symptoms can be employ as an individual to treat diarrhea.
  • ORS (oral rehydrating salt): water containing salt and sugar to replace the lost fluid and electrolytes is sip at interval and slowly after each episode of stooling.
  • Avoid diary products, caffeine, sugary foods and high fire diet as all this stimulate the gastric movement which will worsen your diarrhea
  • Take diluted fruit juice without sugar. Dilute soft drink with water to ratio 1:5 if at all.
  • Take soluble fiber like oatmeal that will help solidify the stool. 
  • Take over the counter antidiarrheal drug e.g loperamide and zinc supplement.
  • Take plenty of water to stay hydrated