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Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.

Diarrhea, often characterized as frequent, watery bowel movement, is an intestinal disorder that most of us have experienced more than once in our lives. Also known as intestinal or stomach flu, the condition can last up to 2 to 3 days. Many times, over-the-counter medication can be used to treat the issue. However, according to World Gastroenterology Organization, if abnormally frequent discharge of semisolid or fluid fecal matter is released from the bowels, that lasts for at least 14 days, is known as acute diarrhea.

Symptoms

From mild to severe, the symptoms can be easily noticed. If you feel that there is intense discomfort or pain involved, don't think that you shouldn't visit your healthcare provider at the earliest.

Abdominal bloating
Abdominal cramps
Nausea
Vomiting
Weight loss
Fever
Blood in stool
Mucus in stool
Undigested food in stool

The latter three symptoms often occur in severe cases of diarrhea, and immediate medical help should become a top priority.

Causes

Generally, a virus infestation is the root cause that infiltrate the digestive tract and affect the stool formation. Apart from this, some bacteria like Campylobacter, Salmonella, or Shigella that enter your body and hamper the immune system be the cause. Cholera, an infectious disease, resulting due to an exposure to contaminated water. It is a bacterial infection wherein the bacteria attaches itself to the intestine and intervenes with the sodium and potassium exchange, which is essential to regulate fluid and electrolyte concentrations in the body. Similarly, Crohn's disease is another inflammatory bowel disease which is characterized by infrequent and loose bowel movements, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, etc.

Fecal impaction is a condition of chronic constipation, wherein, hard and dry stools develop within the rectum, causing excessive straining while defecating. The condition often results in acute diarrhea, stomach pain, and at times, rectal bleeding. Beside these, though rarely, some dietary changes like intake of coffee, tea, colas, dietetic foods, chewing gum, mints (containing low absorbable sugars), or consumption of raw shellfish, raw vegetables, fruits, and grains can also be the cause.

Treatment

The treatment mainly aims for controlling the loss of fluids from the body and other severe symptoms. Hence, it involves destruction of bacteria using certain antibiotics and replacement of fluids and electrolytes with oral rehydration salts and intravenous fluids. Also, in order to avoid dehydration, and maintain fluid and electrolyte concentrations in the body, it is essential for you to have plenty of fluids and salts. Along with this, you should avoid milk and dairy products as they can aggravate the symptoms and worsen your condition.

Watery diarrhea is more prevalent in people who live in unhygienic conditions and are exposed to contaminated water or foods. It is a severe health disorder that, if not treated in time, can be fatal. Hence, it is essential that if you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms or experience bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, fever, etc. lasting for more than 48 hours, do not delay. You should instantly consult your doctor to diagnose the cause and prescribe the necessary medications.