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Diarrhea

Diarrhea is an ailment which many people encounter throughout their lives. Most cases of diarrhea clear up on their own without professional medical attention. Over the counter medications will usually correct this ailment without any lasting effects.  There are several varieties of diarrhea and all should be considered when determining whether the ailment is diarrhea or a more severe ailment. A single instance of a loose bowel movement does not constitute the presence of diarrhea. Three or more loose bowel movements within a 24 hour period would constitute possible diarrhea.


Secretory diarrhea involves an imbalance in the lumen. When this occurs, the intestinal wall secretes excessive amount of chloride ions. The typical cause for this type of diarrhea is exposure to cholera. A person who suffers from secretory diarrhea may still have bowel movements when fasting. This excrement is simply intestinal fluid and plasma.Osmotic diarrhea may be the result of a variety of factors. Pancreatic disease is one culprit and should be treated by a licensed health care provider. The most common cause of osmotic diarrhea is excessive amounts of magnesium ingestion due to constipation. Constipation medications cause the lumen to draw in more fluids and the result is diarrhea.


Motility related diarrhea occurs when food passes quickly through the intestine. With this rapid movement, essential nutrients do not have time to be absorbed. The most common cause for this type of diarrhea is menstruation. Inflammatory diarrhea occurs when a foreign bacteria is present in the digestive tract, a viral infection, or parasitic infection. All of these causes should prompt a visit to a licensed health care provider. Dysentery and exudative diarrhea are similar and sufferers should pay close attention to their stool to determine if one of these is present. If bowel movements contain blood and pus, exudative diarrhea may be the cause. If only blood is present, the illness present may be dysentery and not diarrhea. Seek medical attention if either is present.


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