What is Causing my Diarrhea?

Diarrhea refers to an increase in the number and consistency of bowel movements. Diarrhea should be differentiated from other conditions which are similar, but not actually diarrhea. Even though these conditions often accompany diarrhea, they are often caused by different reasons and require different treatment procedures. Incontinence of stool is the victim’s inability to control bowel activities until the victim can get to the toilet.

Incomplete evacuation refers to the feeling that another bowel activity is necessary just after a bowel movement. Normally, there is difficulty in passing stool the second time. Rectal urgency is the strong urge to have bowel activity that if a toilet is not available immediately there might be incontinence. These have a similar impact on the person experiencing them, but are not exactly the same as diarrhea.

Answer: Many bacteria or viruses could be the cause.

There are numerous strains of E. coli bacteria. Most of the bacteria are non-pathogenic inhabitants of the colon and the small intestine. However, these bacteria, even though they are non-pathogenic, can cause serious infections if they spread out of the intestines. Certain types of E.coli bacteria are pathogenic: they can cause diarrhea by producing toxins known as ETEC or by inflaming and invading the lining of the colon and the small intestine and causing enteropathogenic E.coli. Traveler’s diarrhea is triggered by an ETEC type of E.coli bacteria that produces harmful toxins.

Traveler’s visiting foreign nations with poor sanitation and warm climates, such as Africa and Mexico, can get ETEC by consuming contaminated food. Diarrhea inducing toxins produced by ETEC lead to the immediate onset of abdominal pains, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. These symptoms normally occur a week after one arrives in the foreign country. Occasionally, other parasites or bacteria can cause diarrhea in tourists. Diarrhea caused by other parasites and bacteria usually last more than three days.

Viral gastroenteritis is a common cause of diarrhea around the world. Unlike bacterial enterocolitis, victims of viral gastroenteritis usually do not have pus or blood in their stools and might have very little or no fever at all. Other symptoms of viral gastroenteritis, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pains, normally last up to three days. This form of diarrhea can occur in an epidemic form or in a sporadic form. Sporadic diarrhea occurs in a single individual and can be caused by a number of different viruses. Moreover, it can be spread from one person to another through contact. Epidemic diarrhea, on the other hand, affects groups of individuals. Epidemic diarrhea is caused by a family of viruses called caliciviruses. Caliciviruses are spread through person to person contact or through food that is contaminated by infected handlers.

Additional Resources

The above is, obviously, just a brief overview of diarrhea. There are numerous other resources around the internet for people who would wish to know more. Below are some recommended resources.

  1. NHS Inform: NHS Inform is the national health information service in Scotland. The website’s main goal is to offer Scottish people with relevant and accurate information to assist them in making informed decisions about their own well-being and the wellbeing of others.
  2. Medical News Today: The website is operated and owned by Healthline Media UK LTD, a healthcare company. The company produces timely, original, and authoritative information from credible and respected sources. The editorial team is knowledgeable and covers close to all areas of health including rare conditions and diseases.
  3. MedicineNet: MedicineNet is a healthcare publishing company that is owned and operated by WebMD. The company provides easy to read, authoritative, in-depth medical knowledge for its many consumers via its user-friendly, interactive and robust website. The company has a highly qualified team of experts in the field of healthcare, medicine, and internet technology to ensure that its readers find the most sought-after healthcare information.

Questions to Consider