March 29th 2008 - What is Diarrhea
Frequent trips to the bathroom, gas, bloating and that awful feeling that all of your energy is being drained out of your body basically sums up what people describe as their experience with diarrhea. Diarrhea is a non-specific symptom. The National Institute of Health states that the average adult will experience diarrhea about 4 times a year.
When the mucous membrane of the intestinal walls gets irritated or inflamed, it is not able to absorb the liquid and the bacteria did not have enough time to break it down further. As a result, stool comes out unformed, loose, often watery and stinky.
Imagine this scenario. You are at a picnic on a hot summer day. Someone is at the grill barbecuing, and you can hear laughter everywhere while you see children playing. Food is on the table, and you sample the potato salad and it taste so good, that you had another serving. Hours later, you are sweating and need to go to the bathroom. And you need to go again, and again. Diarrhea in this case is a great thing because it helps you get rid of the toxins in your body that was cause from the spoiled mayonnaise from the potato salad. Therefore, do not take anything that will slow down the motility like Immodium or Lomotil until you have taken a stool culture. Remember, you want all those pathogens out of your body!
Most cases of diarrhea will usually not lead to any serious situations, as long as you have a strong immune system, your temperature is below 102° F, your stool is not bloody, you get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. This is what the medical world calls a self-limiting problem, meaning the problem goes away on their own without any particular treatment. However, there are instances where diarrhea may lead to something more complicated.
When diarrhea suddenly hits you, this is called acute diarrhea and oftentimes is caused by something you ate, anxiety, or the medication that you just started taking. If your diarrhea continues for more than four weeks, the condition is now referred to as chronic diarrhea, which may be a sign of an intestinal problem such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or irritable bowel syndrome.
Other links/ where to get additional information:
Diarrhea Signs and Symptoms
Dr. Marsha Peterson
Gut Reactions by Raphael Kellman, M.D., Optimal Digestive Health Edited by Trent W. Nichols,MD, Digestive Wellness by Elizabeth Lipski, Ph.D., CCN, No More Digestive Problems by Cynthia M. Yoshida, MD., The Gastro-Intestinal Sourcebook by M. Sara Rosenthal, Body Reflexology by Mildred Carter, The Doctor's Guide to Gastrointestinal Health by Paul Miskovitz, MD, Perfect Digestion by Deepak Chopra, MD, Inner Cleansing by Carlson Wade, Get to know your Gut by Joan Sauers,