Diarrhea or loose, runny stools is a symptom which may occur acutely and last only a day or two, or it may be chronic and effect the person every day. Acute diarrhea is often caused by a bacterial or viral infection, intolerance to a certain food (sorbitol, lactose, food allergy, etc.), stressful situation, excess intake of vitamin C or magnesium. It is important to remember that diarrhea can cause dehydration very rapidly and it is essential to make sure that the sufferer replenishes the body immediately with fluids and electrolytes to prevent a medical emergency. Chronic diarrhea requires some investigative work to find out why it is occurring. It is important to look at diet, history of antibiotic use, water supply, stress, endocrine disorders and motility disorders. Chronic diarrhea can be incapacitating to the sufferer, requiring them to schedule their lives around symptom free times. Dr. Metcalfe recommends that you have a complete blood panel done along with stool cultures to find the cause. Many laboratories do not do sensitive digestive analysis or broad spectrum stool testing, so Dr. Metcalfe recommends using Great Smokies Laboratory testing. See Lab Test section for more information. You should also keep a diary of what you eat and your bowel habits to see if you notice any patterns with certain foods or activities. Many people think that eating more fiber causes diarrhea, but in effect it is really beneficial and produces larger, fuller stools by absorbing excess water in the bowel. Food allergies or intoleranceís can arise at any time for a person, even if you have eaten that food many times in the past and have been symptom free. Caffeine causes loose stools, so always watch for hidden sources in chocolate and cola. Antibiotic use can cause chronic diarrhea which may continue long after the prescription is completed. A lack of healthy bacteria or a yeast overgrowth in the intestinal tract may also cause diarrhea. If you have a fever associated with the diarrhea, then it is more likely a bacterial infection, and you should seek medical help.
Signs and Symptoms:
Natural Solutions for Diarrhea:
Chronic Diarrhea: (Also see Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
Other beneficial products:
If bacterial infection of intestines: