About diarrhoea

Most healthy people open their bowels between three times a day and three times a week.

Diarrhoea is defined by the Wold Health Organization as having three or more loose or liquid stools per day, or as having more stools than is normal for that person.

Diarrhoea is one of the most common symptoms for which people seek medical advice; in the UK the average adult experiences one episode of acute diarrhoea each year.

When should I go to my doctor?

Always consult your Pharmacist but for best advice a GP Referral is recommended if diarrhoea lasts longer than 10 days or continues for more than 2 days or in the following situations:

  • Moderate or severe diarrhoea in young children/infants.
  • Blood in faeces.
  • Associated non–cramping abdominal pain, fever, weight loss, etc.
  • People who have been travelling.
  • In food handlers, because of the potential to infect others.
  • In institutions such as hospitals, child care centres, or geriatric and convalescent homes.

How do I manage diarrhoea?

  1. Reduce duration and severity of Diarrhoea:Use an anti-diarrhoeal treatment such as Dioclear to reduce stool output and duration of diarrhoea.
  2. Prevent and treat dehydration: Keep up your fluid intake: Diarrhoea causes the body to loose fluids. To avoid dehydration it is important to take oral rehydration salts dissolved in water.
  3. Prevent nutritional damage:The World Health Organization recommends that children/Adults with diarrhoea continue to eat as normal to ensure suffi‑cient nutrients are present for recovery and repair of normal intestinal function.
  4. Restore the flora in your gut to normal, by taking a probiotic.

How do I know it is diarrhoea?

Symptoms of diarrhoea include

  • Sudden increase in frequency, fluidity or volume, or a combination of these.
  • Central or lower abdominal pain and/or cramps.
  • Possible fever.
  • Possible blood.

What causes diarrhoea?

Acute diarrhoea is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Other causes include drugs, anxiety, food allergy, and acute appendicitis.

Causes of chronic diarrhoea include irritable bowel syndrome, infection, inflammatory bowel disease, coeliac disease, bowel cancer, and diverticular disease.

What are the different types of diarrhoea?

  • Acute diarrhoea is that lasting less than 14 days.
  • Persistent diarrhoea is that lasting more than 14 days.
  • Chronic diarrhoea is that lasting for more than 4 weeks.

For more information about diarrhoea, you can visit

World Health Organisation http://www.who.int/topics/diarrhoea/en/

NHS – http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Diarrhoea/Pages/Introduction.aspx