Diarrhea is defined as an abnormal looseness of the stool, changes in stool frequency, consistency, urgency and continence. There are two general types of diarrhea: infectious and non-infectious. Infectious Diarrhea is caused by a virus, parasite, or bacterium. It can spread quickly from person-toperson, especially in daycare centers. Some of the causes of infectious diarrhea, such as Campylobacteriosis, shiga-toxin producing E. coli, giardiasis, salmonellosis and shigellosis, are discussed in their own fact sheets found in this document. There are other agents that can also cause infectious diarrhea in children (Watch Diarrhea Video to learn more).
Acute Diarrhea : An increased number of stools or looser form than is customary for the patient, lasting less than 2 weeks, and often associated with abdominal symptoms such as cramping, bloating, and gas. Although often mild, acute diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration as a result of large fluid and electrolyte losses.
Chronic Diarrhea : Although most episodes of diarrhea are acute and completely resolve, diarrhea may persist and be associated with abdominal pain or other symptoms. If diarrhea lasts more than two weeks, it is called chronic diarrhea. It is important to notice if the diarrhea stools are bloody, oily (fatty) or watery, which can help your doctor arrive at the most likely cause of your symptoms.
Treatment of chronic diarrhea: This depends on the etiology of the chronic diarrhea. Often, empiric treatment can be provided for symptomatic relief, when a specific diagnosis is not reached, or when a diagnosis that is not specifically treatable is reached. Whether to empirically treat with antibiotics for treatment of enteric pathogens prior to initiation of an extensive workup is the decision of the health care provider.
Diagnosis and Treatment :
The germs can be diagnosed by stool cultures or by looking at stool under a microscope for eggs or parasites. (The healthcare provider will ask for a stool sample and send it to a laboratory for analysis). The physician will decide on appropriate treatment.
Useful for CBSE, ICSE, NCERT & International Students
Grade : 9
Subject : Biology
Lesson : Why Do We Fall Ill?
Topic: Diarrhea Video
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