Diarrhea, one of the most common digestive disorders, is characterized by loose, watery stool, possibly accompanied by gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and possibly fever. Acute diarrhea (lasting just a few days) is often caused by dietary factors or infection. Chronic diarrhea (lasting for more than 3-4 weeks) is often caused by digestive disorders or from medications that affect bowel function. Diarrhea should be considered as serious since it can lead to dehydration and nutrient deficiency, so be sure to contact your doctor if you have a severe case of diarrhea. Infants especially are susceptible to dehydration from diarrhea, so look for signs such as dry mouth, excessive thirst, crying without tears, and skin that does not flatten when pinched and released. If you see these signs in your infant, contact your doctor immediately.
Factors that can predispose you to diarrhea include:
- diet, including fast foods, processed foods, and foods containing preservatives or artificial sweeteners
- antibiotics or other medications
- digestive disorders such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome
- lactose intolerance
- infection with bacteria, viruses, or parasites
Acute diarrhea usually does not require treatment other than an increased fluid intake (especially electrolyte-containing drinks) to prevent you from becoming dehydrated, although your doctor may recommend anti-diarrheal medication. Avoid anti-diarrheal drugs if you have infectious diarrhea, however, as the diarrhea is your body's natural way of eliminating the infection.
If you are taking antibiotics and develop diarrhea, your doctor may be able to switch your medication, and will likely tell you to stop the original antibiotic immediately to avoid destroying too much of the 'good' bacteria living in your intestines. Lactose intolerance-induced diarrhea calls for the elimination of dairy in your diet or using tablets to aid in their digestion.
Natural health care is of great use when managing chronic diarrhea, and in the prevention of acute attacks. Diet modification is key, especially if you are having difficulty determining what foods may be causing your condition. Carob (among other foods) may help you resolve your diarrhea, so be sure to contact us to determine what other dietary modifications may help your case in particular. Acupuncture and TCM is excellent for the regulation of your bowels, and can also help with your pain and discomfort. Yoga and massage therapy are excellent for reducing stress levels.
Contact us for a FREE consultation on how natural therapy can help you manage diarrhea.
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