Diarrhoea is the passing of frequent, watery stools. Diarrhoea is a symptom and can be acute or chronic. It is often caused by a bacteria or virus and can be acute or chronic - lasting more than two to three weeks. It can cause dehydration, which means the body lacks enough fluid to function properly. Dehydration is particularly dangerous in children and the elderly, and it must be treated promptly to avoid serious health problems. Most people are affected by diarrhoea at some time in their lives. It is often accompanied by stomach pains, feeling sick and vomiting. Diarrhoea occurs when the micro-organisms irritate the mucous membrane of the small or large intestine resulting in an abnormally large quantity of water in the motions. When taking antibiotics, many people suffer diarrhoea, which may continue after the antibiotic course has finished. The diarrhoea occurs because the antibiotic alters the intestinal bacterial environment. It is not an allergic reaction. In rare cases it requires medical treatment. Diarrhoea can also be a symptom of more serious diseases, such as dysentery, cholera, or botulism, and can also be indicative of a chronic syndrome such as Crohn's disease.
Diarrhoea can cause the skin around the anus to become sore. Pat it clean gently with toilet paper or use disposable baby wipes. A barrier cream wiped on the skin around the anus can be very soothing. If the diarrhoea lasts more than two weeks, it is considered chronic. Diarrhoea is also associated with other infections such as malaria and measles. Chemical irritation of the gut or non-infectious bowel disease can also result in diarrhoea. Diarrhoea can also spread from person to person, aggravated by poor personal hygiene. Food is another major cause of diarrhoea when it is prepared or stored in unhygienic conditions. When diarrhoea goes on for a long time, the most likely cause is irritable bowel syndrome. It is called a ‘functional' condition. This means that the bowel produces stools which are looser or more frequent than normal, although the bowel is not diseased. Dehydration can cause serious problems, especially in babies, children, older adults and those with special health problems. Preventing dehydration is the main treatment in the initial stages of diarrhoea. Drink small amounts of clear, lightly sweetened fluid every hour. Ideal fluids include diluted lemonade and weak cordial.
Prevention of Diarrhoea
- Cleanliness and good hand hygiene will help to prevent you and your family from catching infectious diarrhoea.
- Avoid solid food for a few hours until you feel better.
- Avoid very hot or cold liquids.
- Don't exercise strenuously until you are free of symptoms.
- If your job involves preparing food, you should not work for 48 hours after symptoms clear up.
Home Remedies for Diarrhoea
- Take a ripe banana and mash it properly. Add 1 tsp of tamarind pulp and a pinch of salt to it. Consume this mixture two times in a day.
- A popular diarrhea home remedy treatment is to consume a paste made of 15-20 fresh curry leaves mixed with 1 tsp honey.
- Mix 1/2 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp ginger juice, and 1/4 tsp pepper powder and drink it.
- Boil a little water and add 30 grams (or a handful) of rice powder to make the solution into a thin liquid. Add one level teaspoon of salt and water to this liquid to make it up to 1 litre.
- Water boiled with holy basil could be taken as a drink and also could be used as gargle.
- Grate one raw papaya. Add 3 cups water, boil for 10 mins, strain and finish the water in one day.