General Practice 2022

Constant diarrhea: 6 main causes and how to treat

Constant diarrhea: 6 main causes and how to treat
Constant diarrhea: 6 main causes and how to treat

Constant diarrhea can be caused by numerous factors, the most frequent being infections with viruses and bacteria, prolonged use of medication or food allergies. However, it is also possible that it is related to intestinal changes or be a sign of a more serious disease, such as bowel cancer, for example, especially when accompanied by other symptoms such as malaise, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

Treatment for constant diarrhea depends on the underlying cause, but it is essential to avoid dehydration by drinking fluids or oral rehydration solutions. There are also remedies that can help stop diarrhea, but they should only be used on medical advice, and home remedies can also be used.Check out some options for home remedies for diarrhea.

1. Infection

Virus and bacterial infections often cause sudden onset of severe diarrhea, accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, headache and muscle pain, fever, chills, loss of appetite, weight loss, and abdominal pain. However, in the case of parasite infections, these symptoms take longer to appear and last longer, and can lead to constant diarrhea.

This type of infections usually occurs due to ingestion of contaminated water, raw or undercooked fish or meats that are contaminated, or from handling food without washing hands thoroughly. Some of the most frequently contaminated foods are milk, meat, eggs and vegetables.

How to treat: In case the infection is caused by a virus, the treatment consists of preventing dehydration, through the ingestion of liquids and oral rehydration solutions. In more severe cases, it may be necessary to administer fluids into the vein.

The treatment of food poisoning by parasites and bacteria depends on the severity of the infection, and although it can be cured at home, drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding foods with fat, lactose or caffeine, in many cases it is necessary to consult a doctor, general practitioner, pediatrician or gastroenterologist, to start treatment with antibiotics and antiparasitic drugs.

2. Prolonged use of medication

Some medications, such as antibiotics, cancer drugs, or magnesium-containing antacids, can cause diarrhea. Diarrhea caused by antibiotics happens because they attack the body's good and bad bacteria, thus destroying the intestinal microbiota and making digestion difficult. Depending on the type of medication, diarrhea may be constant, especially if the medication needs to be taken every day for a long time.

How to treat: In the case of antibiotics, a good solution to prevent or alleviate diarrhea is to take a probiotic, which has in its composition good bacteria for the intestine that go help restore the intestinal flora.In the case of antacids with magnesium, the ideal is to opt for combinations that, in addition to this active substance, also contain aluminum, which helps to reduce diarrhea.

3. Lactose Intolerance

Lactose is a sugar that can be found in milk and dairy products. Some people are intolerant to this sugar because they do not have or have insufficient amounts of an enzyme called lactase, which is responsible for degrading this sugar into simpler sugars, for later being absorbed. Therefore, in these cases, if dairy products are ingested frequently, the development of constant diarrhea is common. Here's how to tell if you're lactose intolerant.

Babies can also have diarrhea when they ingest lactose because as their digestive system is still immature, they may not have enough lactase to properly digest milk, so it is important for the breastfeeding mother to reduce the intake of dairy products and not replacing breast milk with cow's milk, for example, in babies under 6 months.

How to treat: To avoid the gastrointestinal effects caused by lactose, you should reduce the consumption of milk and dairy products or opt for those that do not contain lactose in the composition, in which this was industrially degraded into simpler sugars. There are also remedies such as Lactosil or Lactaid, which have this enzyme in their composition, which can be taken before meals.

4. Intestinal changes

People with intestinal disorders and diseases such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome, often have episodes of constant diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, especially in situations where there is a stronger food intake or contraindicated for these disorders.

How to treat: Many of these conditions are incurable and treatment usually consists of relieving symptoms with medications for abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and oral rehydration solutions.

Furthermore, depending on the type of disease in question, foods with caffeine, raw vegetables and fruits with skin, dairy products, oats, fats and fried foods, sweets or red meat, for example, should be avoided.

See the following video for symptoms, causes and how to treat some intestinal disorders:

5. Food allergies

Food allergy is an exaggerated reaction of the immune system to certain foods such as eggs, milk, peanuts, wheat, soy, fish or seafood for example, which can manifest itself in various regions of the body such as skin, eyes or nose and cause vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. It is important to know how to distinguish food allergy from food intolerance, since allergy is a more serious situation, which can endanger the person's life. Learn how to identify a food allergy.

How to treat: Treatment for food allergy depends on the severity of symptoms, and can be done with antihistamine drugs such as Allegra or Loratadine or with corticosteroids such as Betamethasone.In the most severe cases, when anaphylactic shock and shortness of breath occur, it may be necessary to have an adrenaline injection and use an oxygen mask to help with breathing.

In addition, foods that cause food allergies should be avoided. To find out which foods can trigger an allergy, a food intolerance test can be performed.

6. Bowel cancer

Usually, bowel cancer causes frequent diarrhea with the presence of blood, associated with stomach pain, tiredness, weight loss for no apparent reason and anemia. If these symptoms persist for more than a month, go to the doctor so that treatment can be established as soon as possible. Check out 8 symptoms that may indicate intestinal cancer.

How to treat: Treatment for bowel cancer can be done with surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or immunotherapy, depending on the location, size and development of the tumor.

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