diarrhea(redirected from diarrheas)
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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’