Acute diarrhea: causes, symptoms and treatments

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Acute diarrhea: causes, symptoms and treatments
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Acute diarrhea is when you emit liquid, soft or paste-like feces for more than a week.  According to Medisite a slight contamination can provoke acute diarrhea.  In this article we will look at the causes, symptoms and treatments for this unpleasant situation. 

What are the causes of acute diarrhea?

If you have diarrhea you emit soft or liquid feces at least three times per day.  Usually this state resolves itself after three days.  However what cause this acute diarrhea?

In very rare cases it can be caused by an inflammation or food intolerance.  However more commonly it this state is caused by a bacteria, virus, parasite or medicine.  Some germs can be found in the analysis of feces which can help determine the cause:

  • Salmonella;
  • Shigelles;
  • Campylobacter;
  • Yersinia.

Analysis laboratories look for these four germs. If doctors can’t identify a cause they may prescribe an analysis of feces so the laboratories can then look for:

  • Clostridium difficile;
  • Vibrios
  • Coli bacteria.

Other types of germs can potentially be investigated which also require a particular type of culture.  However only a medical professional can request this analysis.
It should also be noted that some antibiotics may produce acute diarrhea.  It is assumed that antibiotics will prevent the colon from working correctly and other elements of the digestive system. As a result, diarrhea problems are likely to occur.

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What are the symptoms?

Acute diarrhea is when you expel liquid, soft or paste-like feces at least three times a day for less that 2 weeks.  You need to go to the toilet more often than usual so the person affected has to alter their usual routine.
During an examination of the patient it is important to note their age and whether they have been dehydrated. The elderly and children are more at risk especially in cases of dehydration.  The biochemical functions of the person are altered when they have diarrhea.  Their blood pressure falls and the are overcome by dehydration.  This is particularly due tho the fact the sufferer is expelling liquid feces.  It is important to hydrate yourself sensibly and to increase your usual consumption of liquids so as to avoid becoming dehydrated.

You shouldn’t confuse chronic and acute diarrhea.  If the symptoms last more than 14 days you have a case of chronic diarrhea. The problem is that acute diarrhea and chronic diarrhea have the same symptoms at the beginning.  So you just have to wait to know for sure the diagnostic. However chronic diarrhea can last several months, even years in some instances.

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How to treat the problem?

Acute diarrhea is usually treated with medication.  This can dehydrate your feces as well as slowdown the movement and secretion of fluids.  Antispasmodic drugs (for pain) may also be prescribed.

You can also choose more natural solutions. Alchemilla is a plant know for it’s beneficial effects on diarrhea.  However you can also use cinnamon essential oil or even active carbon.

Final words

Acute and chronic diarrhea is a condition that should be taken seriously especially for young children and the elderly.  For them, there is a great risk of becoming dehydrated.  Don’t hesitate to consult a specialist if you are suffering from diarrhea for more than three days.


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