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Diarrhea can put you in extremely uncomfortable and awkward situations, apart from the physical discomfort you are facing already. Timely treatment of the symptoms is essential for effective recovery. Getting rid of diarrhea fast involves dietary modifications, pharmaceutical interventions and keeping yourself hydrated.
What Is Diarrhea?
Diarrhea refers to frequent, watery bowel movements, mostly accompanied by abdominal cramping, bloating, nausea and vomiting. Diarrhea comes in two main types, namely acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term). Acute diarrhea is the more common type, also known as non-inflammatory diarrhea. Symptoms usually include the ones described.
The cause of acute diarrhea is usually a bacterial or viral infection. For example, gastroenteritis, normally called "the stomach flu", is the most common infection of the digestive tract that results in diarrhea. Another frequent cause of acute diarrhea is ingesting food or water contaminated with bacteria. Apart from these, certain underlying factors, such as lactose intolerance, consumption of sweeteners, antacids, vitamin supplements and use of antibiotics can also cause diarrhea.
As unpleasant as it may seem, diarrhea is often not a very serious problem in healthy individuals. However, if the condition becomes chronic and the symptoms become worse, immediate attention is required. In addition, diarrhea in young children, the elderly, and in critically ill patients can take a turn for the worst. This is where consulting with a pediatrician and physician becomes important.
What Should You Do When You Have Diarrhea?
Remember that diarrhea is the body’s way of expelling toxins and pathogens from your system. This is why most treatment involves addressing the symptoms that accompany the diarrhea instead of trying to stop it. The two most basic precautions to take when diarrhea strikes are:
- Maximizing fluid intake: Keeping hydrated and compensating for the loss of electrolytes is the most important precaution in preventing diarrhea and your compromised health condition from getting worse. You should increase your consumption of fluids to at least two to three liters a day. Water and clear broths are among the best options. Sports drinks and oral rehydration solutions are recommend for replenishing the lost electrolytes and salts from the body.
- Resting and relaxing: Rejuvenation is an essential aspect of recovery in any illness. Getting plenty of rest and minimizing stressors helps your body fight off infection and improve your condition. Furthermore, some people suffer from diarrhea due to psychological factors such as stress and anxiety. Limiting these triggers can also help in controlling and improving your symptoms.
Special Care For Children
Children suffering from diarrhea must be given extra care because they are more likely to develop severe dehydration. There is already lesser fluid in children's body as compared to adults. Even a few episodes of diarrhea in children may result in electrolyte imbalance which can cause trouble and can sometimes be fatal.