Diarrhea is an increase in the looseness of stool, an increase in the frequency of bowel movements or both. It may be either chronic or acute, and each has different treatments and causes.
Diarrhea that lasts less than 14 days is termed acute diarrhea (AD). Chronic diarrhea (CD) lasts longer than 30 days.
The average American adult experiences diarrhea four times a year.
Children usually have 7 to 15 cases of diarrhea by the time they reach age 5.
Worldwide, there are over 2 billion cases of diarrheal disease every year. More importantly, about 2 million children under the age of 5 years die from diarrhea.
- abdominal cramps;
- loose, watery stools;
- nausea and throwing up;
- blood in the stool;
- bloating in the belly;
- fever (high temperature);
- an urgent feeling that you need to have a bowel movement;
- weight loss.
The condition may also cause dehydration.
Symptoms of dehydration include:
- urinating less than usual;
- dry mouth;
- sunken eyes or cheeks;
- decreased skin turgor;
- dark-colored urine;
- feeling tired;
- no tears when crying;
- lack of energy.
This condition may be caused by:
- surgery on the digestive system;
- alcohol abuse;
- laxative abuse;
- medicines — herbs, prescription and nonprescription medication, and dietary supplements can cause this condition as a side effect;
- infection by bacteria or a virus;
- lactose intolerance – people with lactose intolerance develop gas and diarrhea when they ingest milk and dairy products;
- celiac disease – individuals with celiac disease are sensitive to gluten, a type of protein that can cause weight loss and diarrhea;
- type 2 diabetes mellitus, especially if the nerves which supply the digestive tract are injured;
- some types of cancers;
- eating foods which upset the digestive system, like foods low (processed foods) or with no (animal products) dietary fiber;
- radiation therapy;
- an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).
Stick to “BRAT” foods which will help firm up your stool. These foods include:
- rice (white);
Also, foods which are well-tolerated when experiencing diarrhea include:
- boiled or baked potatoes (with skins peeled);
Common over-the-counter medications include:
- loperamide (Imodium);
- bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate).
Note – antibiotics might help treat diarrhea caused by parasites or pathogenic bacteria.
Medically, it is defined as fewer than three stools every 7 days and severe constipation as less than one stool every 7 days.
In the US, constipation is the most common digestive complaint, outnumbering all other chronic digestive conditions. Also, around 900 people die annually from diseases associated with or related to constipation.
Constipation can alternate with diarrhea. This pattern usually occurs as part of the irritable bowel syndrome.
An estimated 16% of Americans suffer from chronic constipation, according to a recent survey done by the American Gastroenterological Association. In the UK, over 70,000 people are admitted to hospital with constipation as the main condition.
The most common symptoms may include:
- feeling as though you can’t completely empty the stool from the rectum;
- fewer-than-normal bowel movements;
- loss of appetite;
- a stool which is painful or difficult to pass;
- bloating in your abdomen;
- stomach ache;
- feeling nauseous;
- requiring help to empty the rectum, like – using a finger to remove stool from your rectum and using your hands to press on your abdomen;
- feeling as though there’s a blockage in the rectum which prevents bowel movements;
- straining to have bowel movements;
- having hard stools.
There are many things which contribute to the condition, including:
- resisting the urge to poop;
- not eating enough foods high in dietary fiber;
- overuse of laxatives;
- a change in your routine or lifestyle;
- emotional stress;
- irritable bowel syndrome;
- not enough water or fluids in your diet;
- eating a lot of dairy products;
- colon cancer;
- neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease;
- some medications, such as antidepressants, narcotics, and iron supplements.
Common treatment options include:
- drink plenty of fluids, especially water;
- increase the dietary fiber in your diet by eating more vegetables, fruits, seeds, legumes, nuts, and whole grains;
- take a laxative such as Senokot, Correctol, Ducodyl, or Dulcolax;
- eat probiotics – they may help prevent chronic constipation;
- enema – it works by softening stool enough to produce a bowel movement.
Fear is commonly involved in cases related to diarrhea. In some cases, it is a relief from something that we can not accept and digest, instead, we keep carrying it with us.
All experiences and impressions have something beautiful and useful to you. Open yourself without fear and let them stay inside you.
Spiritual Meaning of Constipation
Constipation is a striking manifestation of a psychological problem on a physical level.
It is often related to greed and manipulation of things, especially material things.
You may have difficulties letting old ideas go, as well as allowing repressive issues to come out. You are constipated both mentally and physically, and you can not leave certain things in the past.
Put the past and your fear aside and stop repressing things you find uncomfortable to face. Allow the flow of life to pass through you generously and you will find the safety you are looking for.
The following recommendations can help you avoid developing these conditions:
- make sure children who start eating solid foods get plenty of dietary fiber in their diets;
- try to create a regular schedule for bowel movements, particularly after a meal;
- don’t ignore the urge to pass stool;
- have healthy sleeping patterns;
- try to manage stress (meditation is the best tool for reducing stress);
- stay as active as possible, and try to get regular physical exercise (minimum 90 minutes of walking per day);
- reduce your stress levels;
- drink plenty of fluids;
- eat fewer foods with low amounts of dietary fiber, like – processed foods, eggs, dairy products, and meats;
- include plenty of rich-fiber foods in your regular diet, like red kidney beans, navy beans, lentils, oat bran, oats, broccoli, cabbage, radishes, apples, pears, pineapples, blueberries, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, tomatoes, bell peppers, mangoes, papayas, oranges, bananas, clementines, and onions.