Diarrhea describes stool (bowel movement) that is watery and loose. It is common and it isn’t serious. In fact, it is so common that many people have diarrhea 1 or 2 times each year. In many cases it last 2 or 3 days and it can be treated with OTC (over-the-counter) medicine. Diarrhea may be part of some chronic disease of the large intestine or irritable bowel syndrome. According to doctors, there are three types of diarrhea. They are:
- Secretory diarrhea may be caused by drugs, infections and some other conditions. It occurs when the body releases water into the bowel.
- Osmotic diarrhea occurs when some substance in the bowels draws water from the body. For example, a sorbitol, found in sugary candy draws water in the intestine and cause diarrhea.
- Exudative diarrhea occurs when there is a pus and blood in the stool. It is usually a part of some other disease like: ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
One of the most common causes of diarrhea is a virus. This infection is called stomach flu or intestinal flu. But, diarrhea may be caused by: medications, radiation therapy, bacterial infection, infections by some other organism, eating food that can upset the digestive system, malabsorbtion, laxative abuse, alcohol abuse and some cancers.
In many cases, if you have a mild case of diarrhea, there is no need for medical assistance and you can let it run its course. You can use over-the-counter medicine as well. Some of the most recommended medicines are: Imodium A-D, Kaopectate and Pepto-Bismol. Also, you should drink six glasses (8 ounces) of water each day. Also, soda, fruit juice and broth may help.