Stomach aches can make anyone miserable, whether you are six-years-old or sixty and when it is accompanied by diarrhoea, it can make you feel even worse. It is easy to tell when you have diarrhoea because your stools are loose and watery. Most people generally have a bout of diarrhoea one to two times a year, but those with conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome can have it more often.
While the most telling symptom of diarrhoea is loose, watery stools, there are other indications that you have this issue. Sometimes you will get nauseous or vomit when you have diarrhoea, but many people feel bloated or have stomach cramps. There are more serious symptoms like having blood, mucus or undigested food in your stools, weight loss and fever.
Causes of Diarrhoea
If you are not plagued with a condition like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS, there can be many reasons why you have diarrhoea. One of the most common reasons for getting diarrhoea is having a virus like the “stomach flu,” but some of the other causes for this gastrointestinal issue are:
- Food allergies
- Bacterial infections, such as food poisoning.
- Medications, especially antibiotics
- Overactive thyroid
- Inability to absorb nutrients, malabsorption
While there are several other causes for diarrhoea, these are some of the most common problems people have who get diarrhoea more frequently than once or twice a year, but don’t have issues like Crohn’s Disease or IBS.
One of the most common treatments for diarrhoea is to take an over-the-counter medication that contains either bismuth subsalicylate or loperamide. These medications can help to slow down intestinal movements that lead to diarrhoea, which helps them absorb water and electrolytes to help relieve the symptoms of diarrhoea. These medications usually work within an hour or two, but some of the stronger strength medications can work quicker than that to help improve your symptoms.
As part of diarrhoea treatment, you should drink up to six glasses of water a day in order to stay hydrated, especially if your symptoms include a fever. Fruit juices without pulp, non-caffeinated sodas and sports drinks are good choices as well. When you are ill, it is important to maintain the electrolytes in your body, so adults can drink sports drinks or you can give children drinks that are formulated to provide their bodies with electrolytes to keep them from dehydrating.
Seeking Medical Attention
Having diarrhoea doesn’t usually require a doctor’s attention, but if you notice black, tarry stools, are running a high fever, you cannot keep liquids down or you have had diarrhoea for more than two days, then contact your doctor’s office. They can prescribe anti-nausea medicine to help you start keeping liquids down, which can help you get over your bout of diarrhoea.
Usually, diarrhoea will make you feel miserable for a day or two and you will notice the symptoms start subsiding. If you suspect a problem other than a virus or a bacterial infection, talk to your doctor about your symptoms.