Diarrhea

Diarrhea is one of the most unpleasant and embarrassing conditions we can experience.  Let’s just call it what it is – plain messy.

 

Symptoms of diarrhea include:

  • Urgent need for a bowel movement
  • Loose and watery stools

 

This is a condition where your body wants to jettison something that it doesn’t like from your gut.  What should you do? Pay attention, and let it all go – don’t hold back.

 

The most common causes of diarrhea are bacterial, viral, or eating something disagreeable to your gut.  That is why it is often experienced while traveling. Eating foods that you don’t normally eat, not prepared or stored as hygienically as you would expect are some reasons for traveller’s diarrhea.  Medications, such as antibiotics may also be the culprit – contact your pharmacist or doctor if you are on medications or recently completed medications that may be suspect.

 

How serious is it?  If it goes away in a day or two, no worries, as long as you keep hydrated.  If it goes beyond a couple of days or you experience signs of dehydration – seek medical treatment immediately.  Along with water loss, you can lose important electrolytes or minerals we need for normal life-sustaining functions.

 

Diarrhea in infants, people with heart conditions and the elderly requires close monitoring.  Problems can progress quickly. Seek immediate medical care if you spot these signs of dehydration:

  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Lack of tears when crying (especially in infants)
  • Low urine output, dark urine, or not going as normal
  • Confusion, irritability
  • Rapid heart rate

 

Treatment for short (less than two days) diarrhea is to replenish electrolytes and water that are lost through watery bowel movements.  Additional treatment options are dependent on the cause of your diarrhea and severity. Your Pharmachoice pharmacist can help you choose between options or answer questions you may have.

Jeff Fost
Corner Brook NL
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Rob Heatonpaul lacombe