Diarrhea is nothing to be embarrassed about although there are some of us whose most humiliating stories involved loose bowels.
There are three known types of diarrhea. Secretory diarrhea includes water in the stool. Osmotic diarrhea happens when the water from the body is absorbed in the stool. Exudative diarrhea has pus or blood in the stool.
Most cases of diarrhea are not life-threatening. If it doesn’t get better after a few days with over-the-counter drugs, diarrhea might be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition.
The most common cause is viral gastroenteritis or stomach flu. A number of viruses including rotavirus and norovirus are the culprits. It can be passed from an infected person to another through food and water. Gastroenteritis can also be bacterial.
There are other causes as well, the most serious of which requires medical attention. If watery stools are accompanied by recurring fever, vomiting, and pain, it needs medical attention.
Common diarrhea can be avoided by proper handling of food and water. Contamination can be prevented by practicing good hygiene like washing your hands before and after eating, drinking clean water and making sure the food is cooked and prepared cleanly.
Sometimes it’s tempting to try so many types of food available in Singapore. Always watch what you eat and drink and never try something you’re not sure you can handle especially if you have a sensitive tummy.
Diarrhea in Children
The frequency of bowel movements for every child should not be the only factor you should consider. The same goes for adults. If the child is experiencing pain, gas and sometimes vomiting, it could be diarrhea.
Keep the child hydrated by providing clean drinking water and food rich in potassium like potatoes and bananas. Children less than a year old should be nursed more often than usual. You can ask the pediatrician about using an oral rehydration solution for the infant.
Kids aged one to eleven are usually much easier to feed. Avoid sugary, fatty and salty food. Fruits are a good source of fluids and can easily be digested. Children can sometimes be picky especially if they’re not feeling well. If you think the kid is not getting enough fluids, give him or her an oral rehydration solution. Be careful about giving medication to children, so ask the pediatrician first.
Diarrhea in Adults
Treatment of diarrhea in adults is pretty much the same as treating diarrhea in children. Make sure thatt you don’t get dehydrated. If diarrhea is accompanied by vomiting, it is usually harder to hold down food and water. You will still need to drink water or an oral rehydrating solution by increasing the amount gradually. Eat small meals consisting of easily digestible food. If the problem worsens, you will need an intravenous fluid to replenish nutrients lost.
Pregnant women should avoid food that can worsen diarrhea. If the stools have blood or mucus or are all liquid, it’s time to call the doctor.