There are a number of factors that can lead to adult diarrhoea, from food intolerance to even stress and anxiety. In fact, ‘intestinal flu’ or gastroenteritis is the most common reason, along with a number of lifestyle decisions, comorbidities and few medicines that may make their play.
Lifestyle changes and food habits that can lead to adult diarrhoea
With passing age, our gut lining becomes sensitive to many kinds of food. In such cases, an unhealthy diet might act as a trigger for adult diarrhoea. The kind of food that can cause loose stools includes dairy food, gluten, fried/ fatty food, sugar, spicy food and caffeine.
There are certain lifestyle habits and changes that affect the way our gut functions. It can either lead to an upset stomach or control it.
Here are a few changes that can lead to diarrhoea:
- Consuming dairy products
- Beverages that are high in sugar or contain alcohol
- Taking excessive caffeine
- Having spicy food
- Having fatty food
On the other hand, following are the lifestyle changes that can prevent diarrhoea in adults.
- Strictly avoid excessive alcohol consumption
- Hydrate well and drink at least 8-9 glasses of water in regular intervals in the day
- For more-severe loss, drink fluids that contain water, natural sugar and salt.
- Avoid overeating and eating too fast
- Avoid fatty foods and dairy products
- Consider taking OTC diarrhoea medications, but after consulting with a doctor
Apart from all of the above, try keeping a food journal as a bonus tip. It will help you track your meals and also avoid overeating.
Chronic medical conditions that could lead to diarrhoea
Adult diarrhoea can be caused by a number of chronic ailments, namely:
- Intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease
- Infections due to bacteria, virus or parasite
- Some form of cancers
Prolonged use of laxatives, medications or radiation therapy can also lead to diarrhoea in adults. The repeated loose motion in adults can also be from a long-standing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
What role does antibiotics have in giving rise to diarrhoea?
Antibiotics are important when it comes to treating any form of bacterial infections. Antibiotics-induced diarrhoea is a side-effect that often happens due to a change in the intestinal bacteria population. The antibiotics kill both the harmful bacteria as well as the harmless organisms leading to dysbiosis, thus altering/changing the delicate balance in the body. This has been known to result in occasional loose stool or mild diarrhoea– that usually comes to an end once treatment ends.
This condition of adult diarrhoea from antibiotics is known as antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. Common symptoms are loose and watery stool, abdominal pain, low grade fever, nausea and decreased appetite.
How can you treat adult diarrhoea?
One needs to first consult a doctor if the diarrhoea lasts for 2 days, with fever over 24 hours, along with a few signs such as nausea, bellyache, bloody diarrhoea or any indication of dehydration, such as dark urine, headache, rapid heart rate etc.
A doctor usually prescribes antibiotics for diarrhoea in adults as the first line of treatment for acute & watery diarrhoea as well as febrile diarrhoea.
Treatment of diarrhoea if it is due to antibiotics
In milder cases, the doctor will ask you to stop the antibiotics until your stool stabilises. In some cases of mild antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, your doctor may recommend anti-diarrhoeal medications. In severe cases, the doctor not only stops the current antibiotics but also prescribes new medicines to kill the current bacteria that is causing the diarrhoea.
What is the role of probiotics in treating diarrhoea in adults?
The good live bacteria / yeast in our bodies helps get rid of bad bacteria and reinstate the balance of our system.
These probiotics can be taken by adding in the capsule form to food items such as yoghurt. One such effective probiotic supplement is the use of Normagut, a doctor-endorsed medicine available in both sachet and capsule forms. This probiotic helps in the establishment and maintenance of a well-functioning intestinal / gut flora ultimately working for the treatment and prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. However, it is always better to consult a doctor before taking medication.
Probiotic supplements can actually help maintain the good gut bacteria and maintain a balance. They not only boost the immune system but also make the gut environment a little conducive to pathogen activities.
What the doctor recommends for diarrhoea:
To get well/recover:
Apart from antidiarrheal medications, here are a few treatment remedies that can be followed:
- Warm bath
- Haemorrhoid cream/petroleum jelly for sore rectal region- consult your doctor for application and usage
- Use a soft, clean towel to clean up afterwards
- Oral Rehydration solutions or/and sports drinks
- IV fluids in case liquids/ fresh seasonal fruit juices upsets a patient’s stomach
- Must use bottled water for all purposes, while traveling
- Roadside food and ice made with tap water to be avoided
- Maintain hand hygiene
- Only thoroughly cooked vegetables or peeled fruits to be eaten
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat/seafood
- Take antibiotics only under doctor’s guidance
So, the next time diarrhoea hits closer home, you know what to do! Or better off, what not to! Stay safe!
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