Types of diarrhea
Causes & Symptoms
Treatment & Preventation
Signs & Symptoms
Preventation of dehydration
When to Call the Doctor
Antibiotics used to treat diarrhea caused by specific illness
For Shigella dysentery
These other conditions are:
Diarrhea is an increase in the frequency of bowel movements or a
decrease in the form of stool (greater looseness of stool). Although
changes in frequency of bowel movements and looseness of stools can vary
independently of each other, changes usually occur in both.
Diarrhea needs to be distinguished from four other conditions that can
be confused with diarrhea. Although these conditions may accompany
diarrhea, they often have different causes and different treatments than
- Incontinence of stool: which is the inability to control (delay) bowel movements until an appropriate time,
i.e., until one can get to the toilet.
- Rectal urgency: which is a sudden urge to have a bowel movement that is so strong that if a toilet is not immediately
available there will be incontinence.
- Incomplete evacuation: which is a sensation that another bowel movement
is necessary soon after a bowel movement, yet there is difficulty passing further stool the second time.
- Bowel movements: immediately after eating a meal.
Types of Diarrhea:
The most common organisms found are:
This may be defined as diarrhea that lasts less than 4 weeks, and is
also called enteritis.
This can nearly always be presumed to be infective, although only in a
minority of cases is this formally proven. The most common causes of
acute diarrhea are infections.
With cases of acute diarrhea, it is often reasonable to reassure a
patient, ensure adequate fluid intake, and wait and see. In more severe
cases, or where it is important to find the cause of the illness, stool
cultures are instituted.
- Campylobacter (an organism of animal origin)
- Salmonella (also often of animal origin)
- Cryptosporidium (animal origin)
- Giardia lamblia (lives in drinking water).
- Shigella (dysentery) is less common, and usually human in origin.
- Cholera is rare in Western countries, It is more common in travelers
and is usually related to contaminated water (its ultimate source is probably sea water).
- Escherichia coli
is probably a very common cause of diarrhea, especially in travelers, but it can be difficult to detect using current
technology. The types of E. coli vary from area to area and country to country.
rotavirus 'Rotavirus is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the family Reoviridae. It is the leading cause of severe diarrhoea among infants and young children. ' (Viral diarrhea is probably over-diagnosed by non-doctors).
Norwalk virus'Norovirus (was Norwalk-like viruses) an RNA virus of the Caliciviridae taxonomic family, causes approximately 90% of epidemic non-bacterial outbreaks of gastroenteritis around the world, it affects people of all ages. The viruses are transmitted by faecally contaminated food or water and by person-to-person contact. ' is rare.
- Toxins and food poisoning can cause diarrhea:
- These include staphylococcal toxin (often from milk products due to an infected wound in workers)
Bacillus cereus'Bacillus cereus is an endemic, soil-dwelling, Gram-positive, rod-shaped, beta hemolytic bacteria that causes foodborne illness. '.
- Parasites and worms sometime cause diarrhea but are often
accompanied by weight loss, irritability, rashes or anal itching:
- Food poisoning is really Salmonella infection. Diarrhea can also be caused by ingesting foods that contain indigestible
material, for instance, escolar and olestra.
- Medications: Medications are a frequent and often over-looked cause, especially antibiotics and antacids.
- Less often, various sugar free foods, which sometimes contain poorly absorbable materials, cause diarrhea.
The following are the more usual causes of chronic diarrhea:
Chronic diarrhea is frequently due to many of the same things that
cause the shorter episodes (infections, medications, etc.); symptoms
just last longer. Some infections can become chronic. This occurs mainly
with parasitic infections (such as
Giardia) or when patients have
altered immunity (AIDS).