Everyone has diarrhea - be it because of stress, because of a rotten food or even on vacation as "Montezuma's revenge". Usually, the diarrhea symptoms disappear after some time by itself. However, you can help your body to get fit and get rid of diarrhea as quickly as possible. How this is possible, we reveal in this article.
What is diarrhea?
Diarrhea or diarrhea is when more than three times a day unformed, mushy or watery stools occur. This is caused, for example, by pathogens or poisons that colonize the intestinal mucosa or damage their cells. Thus, the mucous membrane can no longer fulfill its task to absorb water from the porridge - the porridge is more fluid than usual.
In the attempt of the body to excrete the harmful invaders as quickly as possible, he loses even more water and electrolytes (mineral salts). In acute diarrhea, the symptoms last a few days, with chronic diarrhea, the symptoms occur over several weeks again and again in quick succession.
What causes diarrhea?
There are various causes that can disturb our intestinal flora and thus lead to diarrhea. In addition to infections, for example, drugs or spoiled foods can be the cause.
- Diarrhea due to infections:
About one third of all cases of diarrhea are caused by viruses, such as adenoviruses, rotaviruses or noroviruses. In addition, pathogenic bacteria can stress our intestines and cause diarrhea.
Traveling diarrhea is often caused by coliform bacteria, other bacterial pathogens are Salmonella, Shigella and Yersinia. The so-called amoebic dysentery, on the other hand, is caused by a single-celled parasite, which, for example, represents a danger in long-distance travel to the tropics.
- Diarrhea due to medication:
Some medications can cause diarrhea as one of the side effects. Especially antibiotics, which are supposed to eliminate harmful bacteria, have the side effect of diarrhea. Because they not only affect the "bad" disease-causing germs, but also the "good" bacteria that support our digestion and our immune system in the gut.
Excessive use of laxatives can also lead to diarrhea. Diarrhea is also a common side effect when treated with cytotoxic drugs such as cancer therapy.
- Diarrhea caused by poisons:
Some diarrheal disease is not caused by bacteria themselves, but by toxic metabolites of bacteria. For example, food poisoning caused by certain staphylococci or clostridia. The heavy metals mercury or lead can also disturb the digestion, which can lead to diarrhea.
- Diarrhea due to a food allergy:
Allergies to certain foods can be very different - a common symptom is diarrhea. Thus, the diet can play an important role in diarrhea, but also before and after diarrhea.
- Diarrhea caused by inflammatory bowel disease:
In chronic inflammation of the intestine also often occurs diarrhea. These diseases include Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative colitis. In these diseases, the intestinal mucosa is permanently damaged by the inflammation and the water intake from the porridge is very limited, so that diarrhea may be a consequence.
- Diarrhea due to stress:
Stress can affect the entire gastrointestinal tract - especially in a difficult exam or before an important lecture, many people not only suffer from wet hands or nervousness, but also from bowel problems that can cause diarrhea.