Why Diarrhea Is Not a Laughing Matter

We all get bouts of diarrhea in any given time of the year. Some of us may even have it more than once. In each case, aside from the hassle of frequent toilet trips, we never give it much thought. We just sleep it off after popping in a couple of loperamide tablets.

But if you have to rush to the toilet every hour on the hour for twelve hours, like I did more than a month ago, then you know that it is more than loperamides can handle; that it cannot be slept off and that serious medical problems can occur if it goes on for another couple of hours.

I tried home cures like soft diet, bananas and bottles of Gatorade. All ended up in the toilet sooner than expected.

With worry and weaknesses coming over me, I finally called the family doctor, my daughter. She gave me more potent anti-diarrheal drugs and intravenously fed me with electrolytes. The effect was immediate. For good measure, she prescribed a 24-hour IV fluid, congees, bananas and Gatorade to wash them down.

What caused it?

Diarrhea can be acute, where it lasts for a day or two or chronic, which could last for a week.

Medically, diarrhea can be osmotic (something in the bowel draws water from the body into it), secretory (the body releases water into the bowel when it is not supposed to), or exudative (blood and pus are present in the stool).

Whatever kind or type it is, diarrhea is almost always caused by:

1. Bacterial infection or other organisms;

3. Foods that upset the digestive system;

4. Allergies to some food types;

5. Malabsorption (the body is unable to adequately absorb nutrients from the food).

Mine was probably from the cheese in the Big Mac I had for dinner, the coffee I had right after that or the beer I drank prior to going to bed.

Or it could be all of the above.

Whats the danger from diarrhea?

For an elderly like me, a bad spill in the bathroom is one.

Overall, the greatest risk from diarrhea is dehydration or the excessive loss of body electrolytes and nutrients through the stool.

Dehydration is particularly harmful to children, the elderly and people with weakened immune system. It can cause organ damage, shock, going into a coma or, death, if not treated immediately.

How to treat your diarrhea:

Unless you have what I had, curing your diarrhea is really quite simple you can get it from your Grandma.

1. Avoid being dehydrated. This means replenishing your lost fluids by taking in lots of electrolytic drinks or fruit juices. Banana is the unanimous choice for people with diarrheal;

2. Keep away from foods that could have caused your diarrhea. Load up on carbohydrates from baked potatoes, toasts, rice, pasta, eggs and bananas.

Gulp these down with electrolytes from fruit juice or from other energy drinks.

3. Take an over-the-counter drug like loperamide, attapulgite or bismuth sub-salicylate.

Doctors, including my daughter, normally frown on drugs to cure diarrhea. But it usually works for me, so it may work for you, too.

4. Take a nap to help your body recover. Bad episodes of diarrhea can be very physically draining.

Next time you have a diarrhea, think of what could possibly have caused it. It can help you keep away from foods or circumstances that your stomach finds disagreeable. Then treat yourself the Grandmas way, If it works, fine. It not, then do what I did consult with the family doctor.

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