diarrhea

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diarrhea

(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).

Diarrhea

 

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.

O. S. RADBIL

diarrhea

[‚dī·ə′rē·ə]
(medicine)
The passage of loose or watery stools, usually at more frequent than normal intervals.

diarrhoea

(esp US), diarrhea
frequent and copious discharge of abnormally liquid faeces
References in periodicals archive ?
From January 2006 to December 2011, 674 stool samples were obtained from children under the age of 5 years with acute diarrhea enrolled at the Children's Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai.
Of 174 acute diarrhea cases, 109 were excluded for various reasons (details of the exclusion have been described in Figure 1).
Totally, 381 children under 5 years of age, who visited the outpatient clinic of Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Sciences and Technology (Wuhan, China) with acute diarrhea between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, were enrolled in this general surveillance.
Acute diarrhea lasts less than two weeks, and it is typically caused by viruses or toxins.
Improving hygiene and sanitation standards in the communities is the only means to reduce the number of cases of acute diarrhea and other related infections.
Characterization of human rotavirus recovered from children with acute diarrhea in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
(20) Despite the reported encouraging benefits of zinc supplementation in childhood (up to 18% decline in children with acute diarrhea frequency), (12) the cost effectiveness of such treatment is still arguable.
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have shown a substantial decrease in deaths in adults over the age of 30, and the mortality rate for children under age 5 from acute diarrhea has fallen from 4.5 million deaths annually in 1979 to 1.6 million deaths in 2002.
Cummings, "Loperamide therapy for acute diarrhea in children: systematic review and meta-analysis," PLoS Medicine, vol.
The most frequent conditions reported were skin diseases (18.3%), acute respiratory infection (15.1%), and acute diarrhea (13.3%).
Cuban health authorities, using mobile speakers on the streets, are warning Old Havana residents on all do's and don'ts with regards to symptoms such as vomiting, fever and acute diarrhea.

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