In general, diarrhea can be distinguished based on the duration of its occurrence, namely acute diarrhea and chronic diarrhea. Many conditions can cause acute and chronic diarrhea.
Semi-liquid or liquid watering that exceeds the normal frequency that occurs for less than two weeks is called acute diarrhea. While chronic diarrhea is that lasts for more than two weeks.
Acute Diarrhea: Most Common
Acute diarrhea is the most common type of diarrhea. The main causes are:
- Gastrointestinal infections due to viruses, bacteria, or parasites in contaminated water and food, or contact with other people who are experiencing this infection.
- Drug side effects.
- Consuming too much soda, alcoholic beverages, ice cubes that are not clean, or drinks that contain caffeine
Apart from defecation in the form of flabby and liquid, acute diarrhea is sometimes accompanied by vomiting, blood or mucus in the stool, fever, headache, and stomachache. Above all the symptoms, dehydration is the most important thing to watch out for from diarrhea. Lackiness, muscle cramps, headaches, reduced urination frequency, and dry mouth are some of the symptoms of dehydration.
In general, acute diarrhea will recover within a few days after consuming enough fluids, taking medication, and getting enough rest. Immediately consult a doctor if the diarrhea experienced is accompanied by:
- Bleed when vomiting or defecating.
- Vomiting in large quantities or very often.
- Have an unbearable stomachache.
- Accompanied by a high fever that never subsides.
Likewise if you are elderly, are pregnant, suffer from epilepsy, diabetes, inflammation of the intestine, kidney disease, or are experiencing decreased immune system due to chemotherapy.
Right, Chronic Diarrhea Can Be Life-threatening
If acute diarrhea is common, chronic diarrhea that occurs more than two or even four weeks is a condition that is less common. This condition is considered a serious disease, especially for those whose immune systems are weakening. The cause can be infection by parasites, bacteria, and viruses.
While chronic diarrhea that is not caused by infection, may be caused by the following things.
- Medications, such as laxatives or antibiotics.
- Disorders of the intestines, for example inflammatory bowel disease.
- Body intolerance to some foods and drinks, such as cow’s milk, fructose, or soy protein.
- Disorders of the pancreas.
- Thyroid disorders, such as hyperthyroidism.
- Surgery or radiation therapy that has been undertaken.
- Reduced blood flow to the intestine.
- Immune system disorders.
- Hereditary diseases, for example, which cause certain enzyme deficiencies.
In contrast to acute diarrhea, the diagnosis of chronic diarrhea usually requires additional examination in addition to a physical examination to help find the cause, such as blood tests, stool examination, X-rays, and endoscopy. While the complications that can be caused by chronic diarrhea can vary according to the age and health condition of the patient. For example, chronic diarrhea that attacks someone who has experienced a decrease in the immune system can cause malnutrition. Chronic diarrhea, whatever the cause, is a condition that needs medical attention from a doctor as soon as possible because of the high risk of causing dehydration and electrolyte disorders.
Chronic diarrhea caused by bacterial infections can generally be treated by taking antibiotics. Meanwhile, those not caused by infection require medical treatment according to the cause and long-term nutritional supplementation. In some cases, this condition even requires surgery.
When diarrhea, consuming enough rehydration fluid instead of wasted body fluids, is the best way to avoid dehydration. Even so, avoid drinks that contain lots of sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, because of the risk of worsening diarrhea.
In addition, avoid eating spicy foods, fatty foods, and heavy foods, for a while. Rice and bread without any additives are recommended foods. Antidiarrheals which are sold freely, may be consumed, although not always necessary. However, avoid giving this drug to children under 12 years.
Make it a habit to wash your hands regularly, especially after urinating, gardening, playing with pets, and before processing food. This is an important key in preventing diarrhea. In addition, consume drinking water that you believe must be clean and sterile. If you are traveling to an area where water is questionable, bring supplies of bottled water with seals that are still intact. If diarrhea does not improve within more than 2 days, you are advised to immediately see a doctor to get further treatment.