What Are the Various Causes of Diarrhea

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What Are the Various Causes of Diarrhea

Diarrhea is liquid bowel movement at unusually frequent intervals. Diarrhea happens occasionally but can be uncomfortable and dangerous if it becomes persistent. It could even be a sign of the more severe condition. Diarrhea can happen due to one of these causes.

Viruses

Viruses cause inflammation in the stomach and intestines leading to a manifestation of viral gastroenteritis or stomach also called stomach flu. Rotavirus, viral hepatitis, cytomegalovirus, Norovirus and Norwalk virus are some of the viruses that cause diarrhea. Viral diarrhea is highly contagious as the virus can spread quickly through close contact with infected people, contaminated water and food. It spreads fast in close quarters such as schools, nursing care homes, cruise ships and other shared facilities.

Bacteria and parasites

Viruses cause inflammation in the stomach and intestines leading to a manifestation of viral gastroenteritis or stomach also called stomach flu. Rotavirus, viral hepatitis, cytomegalovirus, Norovirus and Norwalk virus are some of the viruses that cause diarrhea. Viral diarrhea is highly contagious as the virus can spread quickly through close contact with infected people, contaminated water and food. It spreads fast in close quarters such as schools, nursing care homes, cruise ships and other shared facilities.

Bacterial gastroenteritis that occurs due to an infection in the gut after contact with harmful bacteria causes inflammation on the stomach and intestines. Some people call it food poisoning. Diarrhea is one of the symptoms together with vomiting and severe abdominal cramps.

Some parasites such as cryptosporidium salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli and Giardia lamblia cause Bacterial gastroenteritis. Contaminates water or food causes transmission of parasites and bacteria to the body. Diarrhea caused by bacteria or parasite infection when travelling is usually called traveller's diarrhea. Some bacteria called Clostridium difficile infection can attack and cause diarrhea especially after a dose of antibiotics. Bacterial infections are common although viruses are the cause of many gastrointestinal diseases.

Medications

Many medications can be a cause of bacteria as it is a side effect of many medicines. A good example is antibiotics. Antibiotics destroy the bad and good bacteria thus disturbing a natural balance in the intestines. Other drugs that are likely to cause diarrhea are cancer medications and antacids containing magnesium. Medications cause diarrhea by causing the intestine muscles to contract or by drawing water into the gut. Diarrheas caused by medication is usually mild and clears up without treatment. However, a more severe type of diarrhea can occur when taking antibiotics or after finishing the dosage. The cause is usually Clostridium difficile bacteria. Taking too much laxative may also cause diarrhea.

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Surgery side effects

A variety of surgeries in or around the digestive tract or to allow gallbladder removal are a cause of short-term diarrhea as a side effect. In most cases, it stops medical attention, but if it intensifies, you should consult a doctor. Resection of a part in the large or small bowel can cause diarrhea due to the removal of a portion of the gut that absorbs water.

Some people have diarrhea after undergoing abdominal surgery or gallbladder removal. Other surgeries also increase overgrowth of bacteria in the small bowel to cause inflammation and diarrhea. Removing a gallbladder may cause diarrhea by making the bile salts to irritate the colon and causing water leakage into the colon lumen.

Lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerance is an inability to break down lactose, a type of natural sugar. Lactose is a common in dairy products like yoghurt or milk. The cause of intolerance to lactose is the stoppage by small intestine to make enough enzyme lactase for digesting and breaking down the lactose. Undigested lactose settles in the large intestine and interacts with the bacteria that usually reside here. The interaction causes a condition called lactose deficiency with symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating and gas.It occurs after 30 -120 minutes of ingesting dairy products that containing lactose.

Amebiasis

Amebiasis is a parasitic infection of the intestines. Protozoan Entamoeba histolytica is the cause. Loose stool is one of the symptoms of amebiasis. Others are stomach pain and abdominal cramping.

Food poisoning and allergies

Food poisoning can cause severe diarrhea, nausea and vomiting because of taking toxic contaminated food. Food poisoning can cause diarrhea from 1 hour to 28 days. If diarrhea resists for more than 3 days, it is potentially life-threatening.A food allergy occurs when the immune system produces an abnormal reaction to some food or drink. Most cases of food allergies occur in children.

There are different causes of diarrhea and most of the time doctors treat it together with underlying symptoms for complete recovery.