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Diarrhea - Loose Stools

Probiotics Help Diarrhea

For adults, probiotics like
OMX Probiotics,
VSL#3,
Culturelle,
Spectraprobiotics and
Multi-acidophilus

are all very useful in changing the disturbed ratio of pathogenic bacteria to friendly bacteria in the gut. This helps in alleviating diarrhea, no matter what the cause. Therapeutic doses may be necessary. Start with just one and increase daily until you get to the number that controls the symptoms of diarrhea.

Colostrum is very helpful and may also be considered.

Slippery Elm Helps Diarrhea

Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva) has been used as an herbal remedy in North America for centuries. Native Americans used slippery elm orally for diarrhea and stomach problems. Slippery elm contains mucilage, a substance that becomes a slick gel when mixed with water. It coats and soothes the stomach and intestines. make links to the caps and the powder from the text.

Genova Tests to Help Identify Diarrhea

Genova (aka Great Smokies) Lab offers a number of home stool tests to help identify what causes are associated with diarrhea. The Comprehensive Parsitology Test will identify any micro-organisms - bacteria, yeast and parasites, that may be causing or contributing towards the symptoms of diarrhea.

The CDSA 2.0 from Genova (Great Smokies) Lab provides an even more comprehensive evaluation of digestive function, as well as gut microbial ecology. The home stool test offers a non-invasive differential diagnosis between Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS. There is expanded bacteria, yeast and parasite detection, a reliable assessment of exocrine pancreatic function, and a noninvasive risk assessment for colorectal cancer.

If bacteria, yeast or parasites are detected, they are grown out in both tests to establish which natural and medical agents will be most effective in inhibiting their growth.

What is Diarrhea?

The definition of diarrhea depends on what is normal for you. For some, diarrhea can be as little as one loose stool per day. Others may have three daily bowel movements normally and not be having what they consider diarrhea. So the best description of diarrhea is "an abnormal increase in the frequency and liquidity of your stools.

Dehydration and Diarrhea

Diarrhea may cause dehydration, which means the body lacks enough fluid to function properly. Dehydration is particularly dangerous in children and the elderly, and it must be treated promptly to avoid serious health problems.

Who gets Diarrhea?

People of all ages can get diarrhea. The average adult has a bout of diarrhea about four times a year.

What are the symptoms of Diarrhea?

Symptoms usually start with cramps, abdominal pain followed by diarrhea. This usually lasts a few days but can last longer in some cases. When diarrhea last more than 2 weeks, the condition is known as chronic diarrhea.

What causes Diarrhea?

  • Gastrointestinal (GI) infections usually cause diarrhea - frequent and watery bowel movements.
  • Viruses, bacteria, or parasites can all cause diarrhea infections.
  • Diarrhea may be caused by a temporary problem, like an infection, or a chronic problem, like an intestinal disease.
More information on the common causes of diarrhea:
  • Bacterial infections
    Several types of bacteria, consumed through contaminated food or water, can cause diarrhea. Common culprits include Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, and Escherichia coli.

  • Viral infections
    Many viruses cause diarrhea, including rotavirus, Norwalk virus, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, and viral hepatitis.

  • Food intolerances
    Some people are unable to digest a component of food, such as lactose, the sugar found in milk. This may result in diarrhea.

  • Parasites
    Parasites can enter the body through food or water and settle in the digestive system. Parasites that cause diarrhea include
    • Giardia lamblia,
    • Entamoeba histolytica, and
    • Cryptosporidium.

  • Reaction to medicines, such as antibiotics, blood pressure medications, and antacids containing magnesium.

  • Intestinal diseases, like inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis) or celiac disease.

  • Functional bowel disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), in which the intestines do not work normally.

Non - bloody diarrhea is usually caused by infections from bacteria, viruses, or parasites or by ingestion of a toxin (poison) produced by bacteria.

A common viral intestinal infection is rotavirus, which usually causes explosive, watery diarrhea.

Many of the viruses, bacteria, and parasites that cause diarrhea also cause other symptoms, such as:

  • fever,
  • loss of appetite,
  • abdominal cramps,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • weight loss, and
  • dehydration

Diarrhea in Children

In developed countries, including the United States, outbreaks of diarrhea in children are more often linked to contaminated water supplies, improperly processed or preserved foods, or person-to-person contact in places such as child care centers. Hand washing in these places is very important to stop the rapid spread of outbreaks of rotavirus.

  • Bacteria and Viruses
    Viral infection that cause diarrhea in children, especially during the summer months, is from enteroviruses, particularly group A and B coxsackie viruses.

    At least 13 different types of bacteria can cause diarrheal infections, including Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, and Campylobacter.

  • A Word about Parasites
    Parasitic infections associated with gastrointestinal symptoms in the United States are most commonly caused by Giardia, which is easily spread through contaminated water supplies and human contact. This parasite can be spread in water parks and pools because it's resistant to chlorine treatment. It can also be transmitted through children's "touch tanks" in aquariums and museums.

    Bathing in and drinking water from contaminated streams or lakes can also lead to infection (so be careful when you go camping!). Giardia infection can cause chronic diarrhea and malabsorption of food.

    Cryptosporidium, another parasitic organism, is also a frequent cause of gastrointestinal illness in children. It's commonly involved in diarrhea epidemics in child care centers.

  • Bloody Diarrhea
    Blood may be found in a child's diarrheal stools, which indicates that the infectious germ is causing damage to the lining of the bowel. This is seen more often in certain bacterial infections caused by Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella, certain strains of Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Shigella, in which case the stool may contain mucus as well as blood.

  • Consider using Probiotics with Colostrum which is a safe and effective supplement for combating all types of diarrhea in children.