Last Reviewed : 12/25/2020

Diarrhea, also spelled diarrhoea, is the condition of having at least three loose or liquid bowel movements each day. It often lasts for a few days and can result in dehydration due to fluid loss. Signs of dehydration often begin with loss of the normal stretchiness of the skin and irritable behaviour. This can progress to decreased urination, loss of skin color, a fast heart rate, and a decrease in responsiveness as it becomes more severe. Loose but non-watery stools in babies who are breastfed, however, may be normal.

The most common cause is an infection of the intestines due to either a virus, bacteria, or parasite; a condition known asgastroenteritis. These infections are often acquired from food or water that has been contaminated by stool, or directly from another person who is infected. It may be divided into three types: short duration watery diarrhea, short duration bloody diarrhea, and if it lasts for more than two weeks, persistent diarrhea. The short duration watery diarrhea may be due to an infection by cholera, although this is rare in the developed world. If blood is present it is also known as dysentery. A number of non-infectious causes may also result in diarrhea, including hyperthyroidism, lactose intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease, a number of medications, and irritable bowel syndrome. In most cases, stool cultures are not required to confirm the exact cause.

Prevention of infectious diarrhea is by improved sanitation, clean drinking water, and hand washing with soap. Breastfeeding for at least six months is also recommended as is vaccination against rotavirus. Oral rehydration solution (ORS), which is clean water with modest amounts of salts and sugar, is the treatment of choice. Zinc tablets are also recommended. These treatments have been estimated to have saved 50 million children in the past 25 years. When people have diarrhea it is recommended that they continue to eat healthy food and babies continue to be breastfed. If commercial ORS are not available, homemade solutions may be used. In those with severe dehydration, intravenous fluids may be required. Most cases; however, can be managed well with fluids by mouth. Antibiotics, while rarely used, may be recommended in a few cases such as those who have bloody diarrhea and a high fever, those with severe diarrhea following travelling, and those who grow specific bacteria or parasites in their stool. Loperamide may help decrease the number of bowel movements but is not recommended in those with severe disease.

About 1.7 to 5 billion cases of diarrhea occur per year. It is most common in developing countries, where young children get diarrhea on average three times a year. Total deaths from diarrhea are estimated at 1.26 million in 2013 – down from 2.58 million in 1990. In 2012, it was the second most common cause of deaths in children younger than five (0.76 million or 11%). Frequent episodes of diarrhea are also a common cause of malnutrition and the most common cause in those younger than five years of age. Other long term problems that can result include stunted growth and poor intellectual development.


We researched this topic for you and found the following best online resources. They are categorized into basic, advanced, and research level based on the extent of information you need. You will be taken to the respective websites by pressing on the links below.


Basic information:

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/diarrhoea/pages/causes.aspx nhs uk diarrhoea - causes

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/diarrhoea better health diarrhoea

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/diarrhoea health direct diarrhoea

https://www.southerncross.co.nz/group/medical-library/diarrhoea-causes-treatment-prevention southern cross medical library diarrhoea - causes, treatment, prevention

http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/az/d/diarrhoea/ health service executive diarrhoea

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-diarrhea#1 web md diarrhea: why it happens and how to treat it

http://www.news-medical.net/health/what-is-diarrhea.aspx news medical what is diarrhea?

http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/diarrhea.html kids health diarrhoea

http://www.healthnavigator.org.nz/health-a-z/d/diarrhoea/ health navigator diarrhoea

http://lifeinthefastlane.com/ccc/diarrhoea/ life in the fast lane diarrhoea

http://chealth.canoe.com/condition/getcondition/diarrhea canoe diarrhoea



Advanced information:

http://patient.info/in/health/acute-diarrhoea-in-adults-leaflet patient acute diarrhoea in adults

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/158634.php medical news today diarrhea: causes, symptoms and treatments

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs330/en/ world health organisation diarrhoeal disease

http://www.traveldoctor.co.uk/diarrhoea.htm travel doctor traveller's diarrhoea

http://data.unicef.org/topic/child-health/diarrhoeal-disease/ unicef diarrhoea remains a leading killer of young children, despite the availability of a simple treatment solution

http://www.stewartnutrition.co.uk/nutritional_emergencies/prolonged_diarrhoea_in_adults.html stewarts nutrition prolonged diarrhoea in adults

http://www.uptodate.com/contents/chronic-diarrhea-in-adults-beyond-the-basics upto date patient education: chronic diarrhea in adults (beyond the basics)

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/717156 medscape microscopic colitis — a common cause of diarrhoea in older adults



https://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/39/suppl_1/i193.full water, sanitation and hygiene for the prevention of diarrhea by sandy cairncross et al., int. J. Epidemiol. (2010) 39 (suppl 1): i193-i205.doi: 10.1093/ije/dyq035

http://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-015-1689-2 reducing diarrhoea deaths in south africa: costs and effects of scaling up essential interventions to prevent and treat diarrhoea in under-five children by lumbwe chola et al., bmc public health201515:394 doi: 10.1186/s12889-015-1689-2

http://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/bacillus-clausii--the-probiotic-of-choice-in-the-treatment-of-diarrhoea-2157-7595-1000211.php?aid=63792 jayanthi n, ratna sudha m (2015) bacillus clausii - the probiotic of choice in the treatment of diarrhoea. J yoga phys ther 5:211. Doi:10.4172/2157-7595.1000211

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=s0004-28032000000100005 arq. Gastroenterol. Vol.37 no.1 são paulo jan./mar. 2000 http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/s0004-28032000000100005 artigo original / original article arrowroot as a treatment for diarrhoea in irritable bowel syndrome patients: a pilot study by caroline cooke, irene carr, keith abrams and john mayberry

Walker-smith j a. Intractable diarrhea of infancy. Saudi j gastroenterol [serial online] 1995 [cited 2016 oct 17];1:152-6. Available from: http://www.saudijgastro.com/text.asp?1995/1/3/152/34052

Al malki a. Diagnosis and management of microscopic colitis. Saudi j gastroenterol [serial online] 2006 [cited 2016 oct 17];12:142-5. Available from: http://www.saudijgastro.com/text.asp?2006/12/3/142/29756


Related topics:

http://www.hydralyte.com.au/vomiting-diarrhoea/diarrhoea-remedy/ hydralyte diarrhoea remedy


Other articles:

http://icatcare.org/advice/cat-health/diarrhoea-cat international cat care diarrhoea in the cat

http://www.isabellevets.co.uk/cat-diarrhoea isabella cats diarrhoea in my cat

http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/c_dg_diarrhea_chronic pet md diarrhea (long-term) in dogs

http://www.chickenvet.co.uk/health-and-common-diseases/diarrhoea/index.aspx chicken vet diarrhoea in backyard poultry

https://www.vets-now.com/pet-owners/dog-care-advice/dog-diarrhea/ vets now my dog has diarrhoea, what should i do?

https://www.lovethatpet.com/dogs/health/diarrhoea-in-dogs-when-to-worry/ love that pet diarrhoea in dogs: when to worry

https://www.vetstream.com/ownerinformation/cat/felis_vomit.htm vet stream vomiting and diarrhoea


Related videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xn8k8qlmps acute and sub-acute diarrhoea

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlu9se1sfka chronic diarrhoea

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-8ojxekmiq acute diarrhea for usmle

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nncx3qrkl0y diarrhea - crash! Medical review series

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4stwzam8itw acute and chronic diarrhea with dr. Moffett


Presentations/quiz/newspaper articles:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/sep/22/we-need-to-talk-about-shit-just-six-bugs-causing-78-cases-of-diarrhoea the guardian 'we need to talk about shit': six bugs cause 78% of diarrhoea cases

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/bihar-diarrhoea-pneumonia-kill-children-but-parents-shun-life-saving-facilities-3038946.html first post bihar: diarrhoea, pneumonia kill children but parents shun life-saving facilities

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-tips-and-articles/77121 lovely planet everything you ever wanted to know about traveller's diarrhoea

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/many-die-of-diarrhoea-in-chhattisgarh-district/article9022592.ece the hindu 20 die of diarrhoea in chhattisgarh district

http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/diarrhoea-swimmer-s-ear-and-itchy-bum-how-to-treat-holiday-illnesses-1.2765762 irish times diarrhoea, swimmer’s ear and itchy bum: how to treat holiday illnesses

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3605598/stomach-cramps-diarrhoea-wheat-free-diet-gut-trouble-mean-allergic-gluten-dairy.html daily mail stomach cramps and diarrhoea - even on a gluten-free diet? The gut problem that means you must avoid gluten and dairy

read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3605598/stomach-cramps-diarrhoea-wheat-free-diet-gut-trouble-mean-allergic-gluten-dairy.html#ixzz4njrqocei
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http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/-over-300-000-children-under-five-died-of-diarrhoea-in-2015/166999.html daily trust over 300,000 children under five died of diarrhoea in 2015’
read more at http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/-over-300-000-children-under-five-died-of-diarrhoea-in-2015/166999.html#opd3coqywy6rl7xq.99

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/15-oct-16/diarrhoea-claims-over-53000-children-lives-every-year-unicef daily times diarrhoea claims over 53,000 children lives every year: unicef

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