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(dīərē`ə), frequent discharge of watery feces from the intestines, sometimes containing blood and mucus. It can be caused by excessive indulgence in alcohol or other liquids or foods that prove irritating to the stomach or intestine, by allergy to certain food products, by poisoning with heavy metals, by chemicals such as are found in cathartics, by hyperactivity of the nervous system, and by infection with a virus (intestinal grippe) or with bacteria or their toxins. Diarrhea is a concomitant of many infectious diseases, especially typhoid fevertyphoid fever
acute, generalized infection caused by Salmonella typhi. The main sources of infection are contaminated water or milk and, especially in urban communities, food handlers who are carriers.
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, bacillary or amebic dysenterydysentery
, inflammation of the intestine characterized by the frequent passage of feces, usually with blood and mucus. The two most common causes of dysentery are infection with a bacillus (see bacteria) of the Shigella group, and infestation by an ameba,
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, and choleracholera
or Asiatic cholera,
acute infectious disease caused by strains of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae that have been infected by bacteriophages. The bacteria, which are found in fecal-contaminated food and water and in raw or undercooked seafood, produce a
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. Persistent diarrhea may result in severe dehydration and shock. It is therefore necessary to replace the fluid lost by the body. Treatment is with a bland diet and drugs that will decrease the activity of the intestines, as well as with specific measures directed at the underlying cause. The elderly are at especially high risk for diarrheal deaths caused by viruses. Ulcerative colitis is an inflamatory and ulcerative disease of the colon, properly described as "irritable bowl," and characterized by bloody diarrhea. Crohn's disease affects the distal ileum and colon, but may occur in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus and perianal area. The symptoms are chronic diarrhea associated with abdominal pain, fever, anorexia, weight loss, and a mass or fullness in the right lower quadrant (of the abdomen).



frequent excretion of liquid intestinal contents. Diarrhea is the main symptom of such acute bacterial and viral intestinal diseases as dysentery, food poisonings, and colienteritis, as well as of cholera, intestinal invasions, and other inflammatory intestinal diseases. It can also be a symptom of chronic lesions of other digestive organs, for example, the stomach and pancreas; of general chronic diseases, such as tuberculosis; and of acute and chronic poisonings of exogenous (as from heavy metals) and endogenous (from renal insufficiency) origin. Diarrhea may also result from metabolic disturbances, from ingestion of excessive or coarse food, or from neuroses. In addition, it occurs in infantile, fermentative, and putrefactive dyspepsia.

The development of diarrhea is related to the liquefaction of the intestinal contents owing to an inflammatory exudate or to an accumulation of fluid in the intestinal lumen when the fluid’s absorption is hindered. The intestinal contents move more rapidly, stimulated by the prostaglandins, and there is a change in the transport of sodium and other electrolytes as well as osmotic shifts in the intestine. False, or constipation, diarrhea is a secondary liquefaction of the intestinal contents during prolonged constipation; a small quantity of liquid feces is excreted frequently.

The diagnosis of diarrhea varies with the disease and is based on the medical history and on examination of the feces. Therapy consists of treatment of the basic disease; special diets, antiinfectives, astringents, and enzymes are prescribed for symptomatic relief.



The passage of loose or watery stools, usually at more frequent than normal intervals.


(esp US), diarrhea
frequent and copious discharge of abnormally liquid faeces
References in periodicals archive ?
pneumoniae from the stools of immunocompromised HIV-infected adults with chronic diarrhea is increasing.
In addition to the nonspecific measures used to correct and prevent fluid, electrolyte, and nutritional imbalances, all persons with bloody and watery chronic diarrhea (including those with pseudomembranous colitis) and 5 of the 15 patients with mild chronic diarrhea (10 were lost to follow-up) were treated with ofloxacin (800 mg/day) or ceftriaxone (2 g/day), based on the results of antimicrobial susceptibility testing.
The study will assess the safety and efficacy of Ramoplanin to treat Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD), a serious form of colitis caused by toxins produced by the Gram-positive bacteria Clostridium difficile (C.
OB), as part of its ongoing effort to address unmet health needs, today stated that Glaxo Wellcome's recent voluntary removal of Lotronex from the market further highlights the lack of options for treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or its individual manifestations such as recurrent diarrhea.
NASDAQ: SHMN) today announced that Provir, whose safety was established in Phase I clinical trials conducted previously, will begin Phase II testing for treatment of secretory diarrhea.
The educational and promotional programs surrounding NSF-IB include a physicians guide to direct the consumers and their healthcare professionals to the significant scientific publications on the product, as well as a `Freedom Purchase Plan' to provide this natural medicine affordably and conveniently to those living with recurrent diarrhea," said Lisa Conte, Shaman's President and CEO.
With NSF-IB, we are addressing the needs of those who struggle with recurring diarrhea by offering a Freedom Plan, which provides price relief to those who commit to long-term purchase plans.
Watery diarrhea typically occurs when there is a disturbance to the cells lining the small intestine, which results in an excess secretion of chloride ions.
com Learning Center contains an extensive collection of links with information on managing diarrhea and includes features such as message boards, chat rooms, support groups, newsgroups, personal stories and testimonials, professional articles and information on current treatments.