Diarrhea is uncomfortable but mostly harmless

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Diarrhea is unpleasant, but in most cases it is rather harmless

Most people suffer from diarrhea once a year. Although this is uncomfortable, it is usually not dangerous. Strictly speaking, it is only a symptom and not a disease, as Thomas Löscher, head of the Department of Infectious and Tropical Medicine at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, has just announced. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites.

If you have diarrhea, drink enough liquid
While diarrhea is generally harmless to healthy people, there is a health risk in young children or weakened older people. “In many regions of the world, diarrhea can be life-threatening, especially for young children. Here in Germany it is mostly harmless and easy to treat, ”reports Thomas Löscher. Doctors only speak of diarrhea when the person rushes to the toilet more than three times a day, has liquid bowel movements or occurs in unusual quantities.

Bacteria in food are often culprits One of the most common causes of diarrhea is food poisoning. This is triggered by bacteria in contaminated foods that attack the stomach and intestines after just a few hours and lead to the well-known complaints.

Tourists often suffer from so-called "traveler's diarrhea", which is often caused by coli bacteria, but also by other bacteria, viruses or parasites. "While the adult locals, on the other hand, have built up a certain level of immune protection over the years, tourists are quite defenseless and should therefore take special protective measures," reports the travel doctor.

If diarrhea occurs with a fever, go to the doctor "You should get enough fluids and electrolytes such as potassium, table salt and glucose - if necessary by infusion," advises the doctor. If a high, persistent fever occurs, this may indicate that pathogens are entering the body. "In this case, there is a risk of sepsis (blood poisoning), so that antibiotics must be given if necessary." Under no circumstances should medication be used to stop the diarrhea at the beginning. Diarrhea is an immune response in the body. The body simply tries to flush viruses or bacteria out of the body. Anyone taking medication unnecessarily interrupts the defense against the pathogen. For this reason, such medication should only be taken on medical advice. This is the case, for example, when there is a risk of internal dehydration due to the lack of fluids. (sb)

Also read:
Home remedies for diarrhea
First milk from cows prevents diarrhea

Author and source information

Video: Clostridium difficile Infection. Gastrointestinal Society


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