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How to Prevent and Treat Diarrhea

Diarrhea is generally harmless and goes away on its own. However, how to prevent and treat diarrhea also needs to be done. That's because diarrhea that doesn't get better can lead to fatal complications, if not treated properly.

How to Prevent and Treat Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a disease that can cause sufferers to urinate frequently with watery stool conditions. Generally diarrhea is caused by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated by bacteria, viruses or parasites.

Causes of Diarrhea

Types of bacteria that cause diarrhea include Clostridum difficile, Campylobacter, Shigella, Salmonella, and Escherichia coli. While the types of viruses that cause diarrhea are Norwalk, Cytomegalovirus, Rotavirus, and viral hepatitis. Then the parasites that can cause diarrhea are strongyloidiasis, giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, and amebiasis.

In addition to bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections, diarrhea can also be caused by the following:

  • Food allergy
  • Consuming foods that contain artificial sweeteners
  • Fructose intolerance (difficulty in digesting natural sweeteners in fruits and honey)
  • Lactose intolerance (impaired digestion of sugar in milk or similar products)
  • Side effects of medications, such as antibiotics that can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the gut, or antacids containing magnesium
  • Gallstone surgery side effects
  • Inflammation of the gut, such as Crohn's disease, microscopic colitis, or ulcerative colitis
  • Celiac disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Diarrhea Symptoms

Symptoms of diarrhea are varied. However, the most common symptoms experienced by people with diarrhea are the following:

  • Flatulence
  • Stomach heartburn
  • Stomach cramps
  • Unable to resist bowel movements
  • Watery stools
  • Stools that are slimy, bloody, or contain undigested food
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness, weakness, and dry skin
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

How to Treat Diarrhea

Diarrhea is basically not a dangerous disease and can be treated independently at home. However, signs of worsening diarrhea need to be watched out for. One of them if diarrhea lasts more than 2 days in adults, or diarrhea lasts more than 24 hours in children.

Based on the type of treatment, diarrhea treatment is divided into two, namely independent treatment and treatment by a doctor.

1. Treat independently

Diarrhea usually goes away on its own in a few days. However, to relieve diarrhea symptoms there are several things that people with diarrhea can do at home, namely:

Increase fluid consumption

One of the important keys in dealing with diarrhea is to drink electrolyte fluids, to replace body fluids lost due to diarrhea. The goal is to prevent dehydration. The trick is to consume as much fluid as possible, can be in the form of water, or juice.

In children, it is highly recommended to give ORS (a mixture of clean water, sugar, and salt). Meanwhile, for babies who are still breastfeeding, breast milk intake must always be maintained, especially at the age of the first 6 months. Giving breast milk to babies can help increase the baby's immune system against bacterial and viral infections.

Eating the right food

Diarrhea sufferers are advised to eat soft foods so that they are easier to digest. In addition, it is also recommended to consume foods that contain lots of water such as soup.

Taking dietary supplements, such as probiotics containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, is thought to also help speed up diarrhea recovery. This is because probiotics can increase the number of good bacteria in the gut. Even so, the effectiveness of probiotics to treat diarrhea is still unclear.

Probiotics are found in yogurt and Greek yogurt. However, if diarrhea is caused by lactose intolerance, you should not eat yogurt, because yogurt products are made from milk.

In addition, also avoid foods that have a pungent seasoning, such as spicy foods, foods that are high in fat (such as fried foods and coconut milk), or fibrous foods (such as vegetables and fruits). These foods can be consumed again gradually if diarrhea has decreased.

Taking anti-diarrhea medicine

Antidiarrheal medications can help reduce the frequency of bowel movements and can condense the stool. As for some anti-diarrhea medicine sold in pharmacies, including:

  • Attapulgite
  • Kaolin
  • Pectin

It is recommended that the use of anti-diarrheal medicines be accompanied by consultation with a doctor.

2. Treatment by Doctor

If efforts to treat diarrhea independently are still not effective, there is a possibility that the cause of diarrhea is due to bacterial or parasitic infection. To overcome this, the doctor can give antibiotics or antiparasitic.

Medications to relieve the symptoms of diarrhea, such as kaolin and attapulgite, can also be given. In addition, the doctor may also be able to give other medicines, such as: Loperamide, to slow down bowel movements. Then to relieve fever and stomach pain can give Ibuprofen or paracetamol.

In cases of diarrhea that can cause severe dehydration, doctors can provide fluid intake through an IV. Giving fluids into the body aims to replace body fluids and electrolytes lost due to diarrhea.

Meanwhile, to treat diarrhea caused by the consumption of certain medicines, doctors can change or reduce the dose of medicines that cause diarrhea so that diarrhea symptoms can decrease and get better.

Meanwhile, in cases of diarrhea caused by certain diseases, such as colitis, doctors can give medicines to control the disease. If the underlying disease is controlled, the symptoms of diarrhea will gradually subside.

How to Prevent Diarrhea

To prevent diarrhea, it is recommended to always maintain personal hygiene, food and drink. By implementing clean living habits, a person can avoid viruses, bacteria and parasites that cause diarrhea.

Here are some things that can be applied to prevent diarrhea:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before and after eating, after sneezing or coughing, after touching raw meat, and after using the toilet
  • Consuming cooked food and drinks
  • Avoid consuming raw or unwashed fruits and vegetables
  • Giving breast milk exclusively to babies in their first 6 months, to help form antibodies against microorganisms that cause diarrhea
  • Giving rotavirus vaccination, to protect babies from viruses that can cause diarrhea

That's an explanation of how to prevent and treat diarrhea, hopefully the explanation we have written above can be useful.

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