Diarrhea is loose, watery stools. A person with diarrhea typically passes stool more than three times a day. People with diarrhea may pass more than a quart of stool a day. Acute diarrhea is a common problem that usually lasts 1 or 2 days and goes away on its own without special treatment. Prolonged diarrhea persisting for more than 2 days may be a sign of a more serious problem and poses the risk of dehydration. Chronic diarrhea may be a feature of a chronic disease.

Diarrhea means that you have loose, watery stools more than three times in one day. You may also have cramps, bloating, nausea and an urgent need to have a bowel movement. Diarrhea can be defined in absolute or relative terms based on either the frequency of bowel movements or the consistency (looseness) of stools.

Diarrhea and related complications can cause severe illness. The most significant cause of severe illness is loss of water from the diarrhea, which is often accompanied by vomiting. Fluids pass through the body before they can be absorbed in the intestine. When your ability to drink fluid to compensate for the water lost with diarrhea and vomiting is impaired, dehydration can result. Most deaths from diarrhea occur in the very young and the elderly, whose health may be put at risk from a moderate amount of dehydration.

Treatment for Diarrhea

Diarrhea treatment should never begin immediately upon the onset of symptoms. Diarrhea is a natural way for your body to rid itself of toxins. Suppressing toxins, especially those caused by food poisoning, can lead to serious complications.

You can take care of your acute diarrhea at home. In fact, diarrhea will usually go away in 2-3 days without specific medical therapy.

Antibiotics may benefit some adults with diarrhea. If selected carefully, antibiotics may decrease the severity of illness and shorten the duration of symptoms. If you have recently traveled out of the country or have been camping (and may have been exposed to contaminated water in the wilderness), your health care provider may prescribe specific medication used to treat traveler's diarrhea or certain intestinal parasites.

Your body needs adequate levels of salts and electrolytes — minerals such as sodium and potassium — in order to maintain the electric currents that keep your heart beating. Disruption of your body's fluid and mineral levels creates an electrolyte imbalance. Unless restored by replacing fluids and drinking an electrolyte mixture, this imbalance can be serious.

The main treatment remains the 'tincture of time' as they used to teach us in medical school, which means that you just need to give your child some time until he gets better on his own. If you feel the need to do something while you are waiting for the diarrhea to go away, or you think the small benefits are worth it, then giving Lactobacillus is definitely an option.

Taking only liquids by mouth and avoiding solid food and milk may be helpful. Over-the-counter constipating agents, such as Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate, or Imodium can also be tried. For explosive or persistent diarrhea, treatment will obviously depend on the cause. Fortunately, the cause of diarrhea can almost always be found and effective treatment is then usually available.

Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) is an over-the-counter drug that works by attaching to the toxin or bacteria that is causing the problem in the intestines. This deactivates the foreign substance and it loses its ability to hurt the body. This medication can turn the stools back.

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