Constant diarrhea is a condition of passing loose stool frequently. Diarrhea is a condition experienced by almost every person at some point of life. In many cases, symptoms of diarrhea would last for one or two days except in serious disorder like irritable bowel syndrome. Diarrhea can be treated and controlled easily by simple over the counter medications. You have to ensure that you are staying well hydrated while passing watery stool. Diarrhea is described as “osmotic” and “exudative” in medical terms.
Osmotic diarrhea is one in which the bowel would draw water from the body leading to watery diarrhea. Exudative diarrhea is passing of blood/pus I the stool which occurs due to severe infections.
Some of the common symptoms of diarrhea are abdominal cramps, passing watery stools, fever, and pain in the abdomen, bloated feeling and bloody stool. Often there would be foul smelling watery stool if the diarrhea is caused by infection. You need to consult your health care provider if your diarrhea lasts for more than 2 days, if you have become dehydrated, if you are passing bloody stool and if you have high fever. For many people, there would be a sense of urgency for passing stool (thin and watery stool) and severe abdominal cramps.
Virus infection is the common cause for constant diarrhea. This condition is also called as “stomach flu” in which the virus would infect the gut. Diarrhea occurs when the liquid content from our foods are not properly absorbed resulting in watery stool. Many other factors cause diarrhea. Norwalk virus, hepatitis virus and rotavirus are common parasites causing diarrhea.
Bacteria can contaminate the food or water you drink leading to diarrhea. Taking antibiotic medications can destroy good bacteria in your system resulting in enormous volumes of bad bacteria. Individuals with lactose intolerance will have diarrhea when they eat any kind of milk products. Similarly fructose intolerance can cause this problem. People who have undergone surgery in their abdomen, gallbladder or rectum can have constant diarrhea. Chronic infections like colitis, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome can cause diarrhea. Food poisoning, infections caused by organisms, food allergy, some type of cancers, laxative abuse and alcohol abuse and chronic diabetes can also cause diarrhea. For some people diarrhea occurs followed by constipation.
Your doctor will collect medical history and ask about the number of times you visited the toilet. He would check for symptoms of dehydration by measuring the pulse and blood pressure. He would request for blood test to find out the nature of bacteria/virus that has caused diarrhea. Sometimes stool test has to be done for determining the nature of parasite.
In most of the cases diarrhea will resolve in couple of days without any treatment. It is enough if you watch what you eat and make some lifestyle changes. For severe constant diarrhea, antibiotics are prescribed for destroying bacteria. In case of viral infection, antiviral medications will be useful. Ensure that you are maintaining the water balance in your body. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent loss of salt.
In some cases, fluid will be given intravenously if your stomach does not tolerate normal fluid intake. Electrolyte levels should be at optimum for which you can drink fruit juices or soups. In case intake of medications are inducing diarrhea, your doctor will give suitable alternate drugs. For chronic conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, your doctor will have to treat underlying issues. You should consult a gastroenterologist for managing this problem.
Home Remedies :
Drink plenty of water/fluids/juices if you have constant diarrhea. This will prevent dehydration problem. Avoid having alcohol and coffee. Choose selective foods that have low fiber content once your diarrhea has stopped. Rice, eggs or soda crackers are good option.
Avoid having milk and dairy products for some days. Over the counter medications like loperamide, Bismol can reduce and control watery stool. Probiotic supplements are useful in multiplying healthy/good bacteria. In case of itching, you can apply petroleum jelly on the rectum/anus.
You can avoid many kinds of infection by simply washing your hands before and after eating food. Wash your hands thoroughly after you handle uncooked meat and after changing diapers. Infection can spread through sneezing also. It is good to rub your hands with soap solution for 30 seconds. Alternatively you can use hand sanitizer when you cannot wash with water.
Instruct your children not to take contaminated food. While you are traveling you should eat only well cooked foods and avoid eating dairy products and uncooked meats. Drink only bottled water and check the expiry date. Avoid having alcohol and too much of coffee since it can worsen constant diarrhea.