Diarrhoea is something that most of us suffer from at several stages through our lives. It refers to a condition whereby stools become very watery, and rather than being squeezed out, diarrhoea has more of a tendency to run or spurt out.
It is often accompanied by stomach pain or cramps, and the watery stools can be very smelly. In most cases though, diarrhoea that is caused by some sort of infection, is a self-healing condition which heals itself naturally in 2 to 4 days in adults without the need for medication, it can sometimes last for up to 7 days. It’s important to keep well hydrated and the best way is to take an over the counter pre-prepared rehydration solution which you can buy from the in-house pharmacy a Broadgate Clinic London Wall.
The common causes of diarrhoea
There are many things that can cause diarrhoea. Let’s first look at some of the infections that can lead diarrhoea. They include:
- Viruses such as rotavirus or entovirus
- An hepatitis infection
- Bacteria like Campylobacter, E.coli and Salmonella
- Parasites such as the ones that cause things like giardiasis or amoebiasis
There are also a number of other potential causes of diarrhoea that are related to conditions rather than infections. This is usually where the diarrhoea is a more permanent condition, and causes can include:
- Difficulty with digesting certain foods, such as if you have a lactose intolerance, or coeliac disease – an intolerance to foods containing gluten.
- Pancreatic conditions such as those resulting from cystic fibrosis
- Surgery on the intestines
- Gall-bladder surgery
- Certain hormonal conditions, such as problems with the thyroid gland, or adrenal disease
- Inflammation of the intestinal tract caused by things such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
- Certain tumours
- Bowel cancer
Typical symptoms associated with diarrhoea
There are a number of symptoms that can be associated with diarrhoea. These include:
- Increased frequency in the need to pass stools
- Stools being loose and watery
- An urgent, sudden need to pass stools
- Incontinence – Leaking diarrhoea, especially if putting your bowels under strain, as when unexpectedly coughing or sneezing
- Being bloated
- Passing wind
- Experiencing rectal pain
- Experiencing a cramping pain in the lower abdomen
- Feeling nauseous
- Running a fever
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss (because of dehydration)
- Spots of blood or mucus in your stools
Most of these symptoms normally disappear (with the diarrhoea) in 3 to 4 days. If symptoms persists beyond this time, or you spot blood in your stools, or you pass mucus but no stools, you should consult your GP, or if you live and/or work in London, you may find it more convenient to use the walk-in GP in London City.
Common symptoms of dehydration
The most common symptom with diarrhoea is that of dehydration, which is due to all the liquid you are losing. The signs of dehydration in children include:
- Drowsiness and/or irritability
- Not urinating as regularly as usual
- Having a pale, mottled appearance to the skin
- Cold extremities
- Looking and feeling generally unwell
In adults the symptoms include:
- Felling tired and listless
- Losing your appetite
- Feeling nauseous
- Feelings of light-headedness
- Feeling dizzy
- Having a dry tongue
- Having sunken eyes
- Experiencing muscle cramps (through dehydration)
- A rapid heartbeat
Treating dehydration with a rehydration solution from Broadgate Clinic London Wall
The obvious treatment for dehydration is rehydration. However, just drinking water it not enough. The reason is that when you lose liquid through diarrhoea, you also lose certain minerals such as sodium and potassium; as well as losing sugar.
The best liquid to rehydrate yourself with is a prepared oral rehydration solution which can be purchased over the counter at most good high street or supermarket chemists or at the in-house pharmacy here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall.
Another good way of rehydrating is by drinking home prepared chicken or beef broth.
If you have diarrhoea and it is causing problems with your routine, and you are afraid of getting caught out when out and about, you can pop into Broadgate walkin clinic London Wall and have a chat with our in-house pharmacist, or one of our qualified clinicians. You may be offered one of two medications
Loperamide is an anti-diarrhoeal medication that acts by calming the muscle movement in the bowel, thereby allowing more liquid to be drawn out of your stools. Alternatively you may be offered and anti-diarrhoeal medication called Racecadotril, which works by reducing the amount of water generated by the small intestine. Both medications can be bought over the counter (after a brief consultation with our in-house pharmacist or one of our doctors) at B