Diarrhea is caused by parasitic, viral and bacterial infections. Acute diarrhea may last up to 2 days, while chronic diarrhea, an irritable syndrome of the bowels could last for about 4 weeks. In some people diarrhea is caused by laxatives and antibiotics that contain magnesium.
Common symptoms include watery and loose stools. Cramps in the abdomen, fever and bloating are the other symptoms of diarrhea. If severe pain in the abdomen, bloody or black stools is experienced, the individual should visit a healthcare professional at the earliest. Diarrhea must be cleaned up safely. While cleaning up, gloves must be used to protect the hands. Once cleaning up is done, wash hands thoroughly.
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Symptoms get resolved on their own in many cases. Symptoms can be reduced by drinking lots of fluids and avoiding alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, fatty foods and foods high in fat and fiber till symptoms subside. If the individual shows signs of serious illness, high fever or bloody diarrhea, then nonprescription anti-diarrheal medications should be avoided.
Diagnostic tests, blood tests and stool cultures may be ordered by the physician to determine the exact cause of the sickness. If loose bowel movements are frequent, bismuth subsalicylate and loperamide are some of the anti diarrheal medications, administered to the individual. Depending upon how the person feels, mild foods can be taken the following day, or sooner. Till about 48 hours, caffeine, alcohol, fruits and spicy foods, chewing gum containing sorbitol and milk must be avoided. Before taking medication for diarrhea, women who are pregnant must consult a doctor.
There are anti-diarrheal medicines and psyllium, a thickening mixture that absorbs water and controls watery stools. Lactobacillus, a probiotic is available in powder or pill form to reduce bacteria and help out with digestion. Pepto Diarrhea Control and Imodium A-D are other antispasmodic anti-diarrheals that help slow down spasms in the intestines.