Monday, 18 January 2016

What Causes Diarrhoea?

There are several causes for diarrhoea, from stress to a deep-rooted medical condition. Understanding the severity of the disorder is important so that a cure may be found.

All of us suffer from indigestion at some point of time, resulting in watery stools and a rumbling sensation in the belly every time we eat something. However, in some people the condition is a chronic one – they may even be unable to digest an extra morsel of food or a spicy delicacy without making several trips to the restroom!

While some amount of disagreement with one’s food is normal – after all, we cannot always eat every food with no change in our constitution – constant adverse reactions to food must be investigated by a doctor. Several people suffer from diarrhoea, whether mild or severe. Interestingly, the causes of diarrhoea are varied and so are their consequences.

The causes of diarrhoea

Diarrhoea causes are many and varied, but the most common can be categorised into:

Unhygienic kitchen surfaces. Most diarrhoea causes arise from unclean cooking tops, improperly washed kitchen utensils and unwashed chopping boards. All of these surfaces are hotbeds of germs that get into the food you cook and thus contaminate it. The problem is seen with raw food ingested after contact with these surfaces – vegetable salads, raw vegetables used in sandwiches, fruits used in smoothies, etc. Hence it is important to clean all cooking surfaces twice a day to prevent food contamination and hence diarrhoea.

Viral/bacterial infections. Most diarrhoea cases occur after the rotavirus or E.Coli bacterium enter the intestinal cavity. These are resistant to the body’s initial defences and prevent the correct mixing of fluids in the bowels, resulting in watery stools. They also cause stomach cramps and prevent digestion from taking place, making the body eject all stomach matter in minutes. This infection can be contracted from contaminated food or using unclean cutlery and crockery.

Stress and anxiety. There’s a reason why doctors and spiritual gurus advise us all to relax and reduce the stress in our lives. Stress can have a direct effect on digestion. It can kill appetite, induce feelings of anxiety and increase the heart rate: all of these combine to upset the normal digestive cycle. If any food is consumed at this time, it is ejected undigested. The person may feel bloated or gassy as well.

Medical reasons. People on a long course of antibiotics report ‘upset tummy’, which simply means that the medicines have interfered with the digestive and metabolic processes of the body. Some medication may change the composition of digestive enzymes, rendering them ineffective. Others can cause the fluid absorption of the intestines to go haywire, so that the stools become watery or semi-liquid.

Long term reasons. An underlying medical condition may cause chronic diarrhoea, which cannot be cured without medical help. This condition may range from irritable bowel syndrome to Celiac disease or even stomach cancer. If you have been suffering stomach cramps, painful or bloody stools, constant watery stools, bloating and gas after every meal or frequent urination, it is time to undergo a medical check-up to find out the cause.