Know the Various Causes of Diarrhea

Diarrhea is one of the most common digestive problems. The characteristics are the stool becomes soft or watery, watery, with a frequency of bowel movements more than three times a day. The causes of diarrhea itself are very diverse, ranging from infections to side effects of drugs.

Diarrhea is one of the most common diseases in Indonesia. Symptoms of diarrhea can include loose or watery stools, frequent bowel movements, abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, and sometimes fever. Diarrhea can make the body lose a lot of fluids, so you are at risk of becoming dehydrated.

Causes of Diarrhea

During normal digestion, water and electrolytes as well as nutrients from food and drink are absorbed in the intestines. However, when there is a disturbance in the digestive process, water and electrolytes will accumulate in the digestive tract, causing diarrhea.

Here are some things that can cause diarrhea:

1. Infection

Viral infection is the most common cause of diarrhea. Several types of viruses that often cause diarrhea include norovirus, rotavirus, and hepatitis A. Diarrhea caused by this viral infection will usually improve on its own within 2-3 days.

Apart from viruses, bacterial and parasitic infections can also cause diarrhea. The types of germs that often cause diarrhea are: E. coli, Salmonella, and Shigella. While the parasites that can cause diarrhea are parasites of the Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium.

Diarrhea due to bacterial and parasitic infections usually lasts three days or more, and requires treatment with antibiotics. Consuming unhygienic water or food, and not keeping the body and environment clean are the main risk factors for diarrhea due to infection.

2. Lactose intolerance

Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk and its processed products. This lactose requires the enzyme lactase to be digested in the body. The condition in which a person lacks or does not even have the enzyme lactase to digest lactose in the small intestine is called lactose intolerance.

Symptoms can include flatulence, frequent bowel movements, and diarrhea. These symptoms usually appear within 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming milk or dairy products.

3. Drug side effects

Antibiotic drugs can destroy bad bacteria and good bacteria in the intestines. As a result, the natural balance of bacteria in the intestines is disturbed. This is more common with long-term use of antibiotics.

Apart from antibiotics, there are many other types of drugs that can also cause diarrhea, such as blood pressure lowering drugs, antiarrhythmic drugs, chemotherapy drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and antacids.

4. Inflammatory bowel disease

Diarrhea that lasts a long time can be a symptom of inflammatory bowel disease. This disease can cause ulcers in the intestinal wall, so that digestive function becomes disturbed.

In addition to causing diarrhea in the long term, this condition can also cause sufferers to experience drastic weight loss.

5. After surgery

People who have recently had surgery on the gastrointestinal tract, such as surgery on the gallbladder, pancreas, or intestines are also at risk for diarrhea. This is because the gastrointestinal tract has not fully recovered so that its digestive function has not been able to run normally.

6. Hormone disorders

Increased levels of thyroid hormone in the body, called hyperthyroidism, can make bowel movements more active. As a result, the frequency of bowel movements will become more frequent.

Foods and Drinks Trigger Diarrhea

Apart from illness, diarrhea can also be caused by certain foods or drinks, such as:

1. Foods with artificial sweeteners

Sorbitol and mannitol are artificial sweeteners that are often used in sugar-free snacks or products.

2. Foods containing fructose

Fructose is naturally found in honey and fruit. Fructose is often added as a sweetener in sodas, packaged fruit juices, candy, and cakes.

3. Spicy food

Foods that are too spicy can irritate the stomach and intestines when digested. People who are not used to eating spicy foods can experience bloating, heartburn, and diarrhea after trying these spicy foods.

4. Coffee

Caffeine in coffee can stimulate digestion so that bowel movements become faster. As a result, food and drinks that enter the digestive tract will pass through the intestines too quickly, resulting in diarrhea.

There are many causes of diarrhea, but the most common cause is infection. Therefore, it is very important to maintain a clean environment and wash hands regularly, especially before eating, to avoid germs that cause diarrhea.

When you have diarrhea, drink more water and rehydration drinks to prevent dehydration. Consult a doctor if the frequency of bowel movements does not decrease after 2 days, accompanied by high fever, vomiting, or blood in the stool.