Diarrhea is a common symptom and is defined as an increase in frequency, fluidity and volume of bowel movements.
The cause of diarrhea warrants positive identification particularly if lasting more than three days in duration. It can be extremely dangerous in babies and may require prompt medical attention and monitoring in order to avert massive dehydration. The elderly are also vulnerable because of the loss of electrolytes.
Causes Of Diarrhea
Lactose Intolerance :- deficiency of the enzyme lactase
Lactose Intolerance:- characterized by explosive diarrhea
Excessive consumption of vitamin C or Magnesium will yield “loose stools”.
Excessive sugar or alcohol can cause osmotic diarrhea
Chronic diarrhea is a common symptom of food allergy / intolerance
Infectious agents of bacterial or viral in nature.
A common cause of osmotic diarrhea is the consumption of excessive amounts of carbohydrates beyond the person’s digestive enzyme ability to digest them. The consumption of copious amount of legumes may cause abdominal distension flatulence and osmotic diarrhea.
Acute short episodes of diarrhoea are usually associated with dietary problems such as eating foods you are intolerant to, excessive fruit consumption or due to an intestinal infection of bacterial or viral origin.
Diagnosis may require microscopic examination and stool cultures for infectious agents. The utilization of mainstream tests such as the “breath hydrogen test” is used to discover missing enzymes. There are also intestinal biopsy and barium meal
X Rays that can be used to give an accurate diagnosis of the cause of chronic cases of diarrhea.
Consuming foods during the acute phase of diarrhea should be avoided. Fluids must be freely consumed particularly diluted fruit and vegetable juices which will help maintain electrolyte balance. After the acute phase has passed easily digested and low allergen foods such as home made vegetable soups, yogurt, cooked or stewed fruits are advised.
Dairy products in general should be avoided. The exception to this rule is natural low fat yogurt which contains no artificial sweeteners, gluten or sugar and contains beneficial bacterial strains suitable for gut decolonisation.