Diarrhoea care and prevention


Diarrhea

DIGESTIVE DISORDERS- Diarrhea


Diarrhea is one of the commonest sufferings and everyone would have been affected by it at one time or the other. People will also fear diarrhea since there are evidences of death with the outbreak of cholera.
Diarrhea is medically termed as gastroenteritis, which means more than three loose stools in a day. Diarrhea usually makes a patient restless and tired with its uncontrollable urgency and frequent evacuation of stools. Mostly passing of stool develops as a habit. Some may do it once daily, some, twice a day. Some others may do it even thrice, i.e. before/after every meal. But in all these cases, if the stool is formed with digested particles, it should be considered as normal. In case of diarrhea, it will also be very watery or loose stools with purging.



In Siddha or Ayurveda treatment, many a times, doctors often start the treatment with purgatives to clean the stomach and intestines first. The benefits of diarrhea are:
  • It is as an alarming sign for invasion of an infective/irritable agent into the body.
  • It can also be considered a natural preventive mechanism, which washes away the toxins from our body.
  • It may also point to internal diseases, where care is more essential.
But, thinking that diarrhea usually stops within a day, many people allow it to run its course without taking any medication or try to treat it with home remedies. This attitude may sometimes force them to the emergency ward.
Also, nowadays, people get confused between diarrhea and dysentery. Diarrhea is a start-up of loose stools and it may be a part of dysentery. Dysentery is an infectious and highly serious condition where there will be discharge of mucous, pus and blood in the stools.
In both cases, fever and abdominal pain may or may not occur, depending upon the infection/toxin load. Often, both make the sufferer lose weight and strength. Diarrhea, which usually follows unusual diet/circumstances, need not be worried about if it is mild, but recurrent and chronic diarrhea needs to be cautiously treated since there will be surely an underlying serious problem.
Incidences – Diarrhea can affect any age group cutting across the urban, rural divide. But most commonly, infants below one year are the victims.
Pathophysiology – The stomach and duodenum digest every food item that passes through them. The rhythmic peristaltic contractions slowly push away the digested food towards the anus to expel it. Meanwhile, the intestines absorb nutrients from the digested food. The duration and quality of the digestion differs. For example – water passes immediately within 10 minutes, as no digestion is needed. A pressed potato will be digested within 20 minutes in the stomach. A vegetarian meal takes nearly 45 min – 1 hour. But non-vegetarian diet like meat, chicken, fish, etc., take nearly 1½ hours or more.
If digestion cannot be performed due to toxicity, irritability or overload, then the stomach and intestine emit everything as diarrhea or vomiting. The control of the brain in the usual process of defecation, depending upon the time, place and circumstance, becomes impossible in the case of diarrhea due to increased frequent peristaltic contractions. Mal-absorption and dehydration usually follows as diarrhea runs its course, since the frequency and urgency give no time for the intestines to absorb any nutrients or water.
Types of diarrhea – Diarrhea can be classified as acute and chronic depending upon the period of suffering and seriousness. Usually, acute diarrhea occurs suddenly and lasts for a few days at the most, whereas chronic diarrhea is persistent and lasts longer (more than 10 days) with serious inflammatory/irritable bowel diseases.
CAUSES External factors



Infection – usually comes from the source of contaminated food/water. These types of diarrhea are often contagious. The common infective agents are
  • Bacteria – E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, etc.
  • Parasites – Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia Lamblia, Cryptosporidium, worms, etc.
  • Virus – Rotavirus, Norwalk virus, etc.
Foods – Spicy, hot food can cause diarrhea
Toxins – Chemicals or decayed food or poison can cause diarrhea
Mechanical – Ingestion of any hard food substance can also cause diarrhea
Habits – Overindulgence in alcohol and irregular dietary habit can also cause diarrhea
Drugs and therapy – Long-term use of laxatives, antacids, cancer drugs, antibiotics, radiation therapy, etc., can produce chronic diarrhea
Internal factors
Mind & neurological- anxiety, worries, excessive thinking and tension often cause vagal stimulation. This stimulation causes more acid secretion in the stomach which often induces diarrhea. Also, some women often suffer from diarrhea during menses, since the rectum becomes irritable from adjacent menstruating uterus.
Deficiency – Vitamins, minerals and zinc
Diseases – Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), cancer, tuberculosis, AIDS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), liver diseases, typhoid, etc.
Allergies – Food allergy, lactose intolerances, mal-absorption, etc.
Symptoms – Usually, diarrhea starts suddenly by stirring up the abdomen with a rumbling sound and creates a frequent feeling or urge to evacuate stool. On an attempt to defecate, it empties the bowel in a purge. It may or may not be accompanied by abdominal pain and fever. The frequency and volume of stool varies with the type of diarrhea that has set in. Normally, acute diarrhea gets resolved in 2-5 days. It is better to take care to avoid complications.
Loose stools usually vary with their contents (digested/undigested), colour (yellowish, greenish, brownish, bloody, rice watery, watery, or as the colour of the food intake), volume and odour. In due course, aversion to food/drinks develops with dehydration and tenesmus of anus with mucous discharge. Sometimes, fecal incontinence may also result. Later, the symptoms of dehydration present its symptoms as symptoms of diarrhea. They are:
  • tremors, weakness and cramps due to loss of electrolytes, especially sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus
  • excessive thirst with dryness of mouth, throat, mucous membranes with giddiness, sweating and increased heart rate due to massive fluid loss
  • weight loss and hollow cheeks decreased urine output and sub-normal temperature
Diagnosis – Diarrhea is usually diagnosed with physical examination and history of food, drinks, travel and emotions. Further, if diarrhea happens to persist, examining the stool gives a better idea. Colour and odor can also give a clue for diagnosis and severity.
Stool examination – Microscopic examination usually identifies the presence of blood,
lymphocytes, amoebic cysts, pus cells, cell debris, bacteria
Biopsy and culture – can point out the nature of the disease and presence of bacteria and parasites
Blood tests may show increased level of white blood cells due to antibody reaction
Ultra sound scan – rules out major structural illness related with the abdomen
Colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy helps in finding out ulcers, inflammation and structural change of intestines. Inflammation near the rectum points more towards ulcerative colitis, whereas inflammation near the small intestines points to Crohn’s disease.
Complications – If diarrhoea is not properly taken care of, it may turn out to be fatal, especially in the case of children and elderly people. Commonly, complications are due to dehydration and mal-absorption. Weight reduction is also a common consequence. Anal complaints like piles and prolapse of anus/rectum can also occur if the sufferer strains often while passing stool.
PREVENTION – An ounce of prevention is better than pounds of cure.
General
  • Keep good hygienic, sanitary conditions
  • Make servers or chefs wear gloves while preparing or serving food to avoid food contamination
  • Cook well in good heat, especially non-veg items
Personal

  • Take care of drinking water – either opt for mineral water or water boiled for 20 minutes
  • Wash hands before food and after using the toilet
  • Cut and keep your nails clean
  • Wash vegetables and fruits well in flowing water before intake or cooking. It is better to peel the outer skin, if possible.
  • Take fibre-rich diet like greens, vegetables and fruits, since it helps in good digestion and forms stool which enhances normal bowel habits
Management while having diarrhea



Do’s
  • Take a good amount of fluid (at least in small sips) to tackle fluid loss
  • Take easily digestible and oil-free, bland diet to reduce the workload for the stomach
  • Take buttermilk and vegetable soups to compensate for electrolytes loss
Avoid
  • Tension
  • Smoking, drinking alcohol and chewing tobacco
  • Food containing high spices, chilies, pepper and sausages
  • Solid diet, oily diet, pickles and fatty snacks
  • Milk products and sweets (continue breast feeding in case of diarrhea in infants)
  • Aerated drinks, coffee and tea
  • Drugs like NSAIDs/pain killers, antacids
General treatment – Patients with diarrhea often lose dangerous amounts of fluids, so, the main line of treatment in Allopathy is rapid replacement of fluid loss with IV fluids and antibiotics to control infection. In case of a mild form of diarrhea, oral re-hydration therapy (water with required essential salts and nutrients) is advised to prevent dehydration. Wait for the diarrhea to stop. If diarrhea doesn’t slow down, anti-diarrhoeals drugs are used. Stopping diarrhea may hold the infective germs in the intestines itself and so complaints may prolong.
Homeopathic approach



Homeopathy gives importance to the cause & type of the complaint, mode of onset of symptoms and characteristic symptoms of the patient. Drugs are prescribed on symptom similarity for curing complaints. So, in Homeopathy, prescription differs from person to person, i.e., each patient is treated individually. Homeopathic treatment can give better relief from diarrhea without any tiredness, since it stimulates the immune mechanism of the body to work against the disease. The earlier you treat, the speedier will be the recovery. In the safe hands of Homeopathy, you can easily and absolutely outweigh all the risks.
In Homeopathy, the medicines are not given for arresting diarrhea, since this procedure may often cause constipation during the course of treatment or afterwards. Homeopathy treatment aims at regaining normal rhythmic peristaltic movement rather than stopping it.
Homeopathic medicines commonly used in cases of diarrhea are Acid Nit, Aconite, Aesculus Hip, Aloes, Ars alb, Baptisia, apsicum, Carboveg, Causticum, Chamomilla, Chinchona, Colocynth, Hamemelis, Ficus.R, Ignatia, Ipecac, Kali Bich, Lycopodium, Merc sol, Mer cor, Nux Vom, Paeonia, Phosphorus, Podophyllum, Pulsatilla, Ratahnia, Rhus tox, Sulphur, Thrombidium, etc. These Medicines should be taken under the advice and diagnosis of a qualified Homeopath.

for new hope

Dr. S. Chidambaranathan, BHMS, MD (Homeo)
Laxmi Homeo Clinic
24 E. New Mahalipatti Road
Madurai, TN 625 001
India

Tel:  +91-452-233-8833 | +91-984-319-1011 (Mob)
Fax: +91-452-233-0196
E-mail:  drcheena@yahoo.com
www.drcheena.com / www.drcheena.in

(Disclaimer: The contents of this column are for informational purpose only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional healthcare advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of healthcare professional for any health problem or medical condition.)

Dr Cheena

Dr Cheena

Simple notes on Drcheena

Dr S. Chidambaranathan is a compassionate and highly skilled homeopathic doctor who has been rated as the Best Homoeopathic Doctor in Madurai.

Because of him “LAXMI HOMOEO CLINIC” is a “Healing Gateway” Imparting quality treatment to his patients with dignity and utmost care.

He is always reachable and concerned for comfort of the sick to cope up with their expectation. Because of his treatment with highest standard many patients were able to avoid surgeries in many incidences. In LAXMI HOMOEO CLINIC patients are treated with dignity, kindness and respect with privacy.

Further Dr S. Chidambaranathan helps the patients to manage their health on their own and to stay independent from all sorts of medicines as much as possible.

To cope up with ever changing trends in medicine and disease management he continues to upgrade his knowledge evident by the various papers presented
in different seminars and articles published online by him.

What is homeopathy ?

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The contents of this column are for informational purpose only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional healthcare advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of healthcare professional for any health problem or medical condition.

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