Diarrhea: Dealing Day-to-Day

2. Avoid bacteria or parasites.

Bacteria (e.g., E. coli or salmonella) and parasites (e.g., giardia) are commonly ingested through contaminated food or water. Some bacteria and parasites release toxins that cause the intestines to secrete water and salt, adding to the fluidity of stool.

Bacterial and parasitic infections can typically be prevented by food and water safety strategies, such as thoroughly cooking food and not drinking water that may be contaminated. If these infections do occur, they may be treated with antibiotics.

3. Control intestinal disorders.

If the colon is inflamed or diseased, it may be unable to absorb fluid from food products traveling through the intestines, resulting in diarrhea. Examples of intestinal disorders that can cause diarrhea include inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease (gluten intolerance) and dysentery.

Though episodes of diarrhea may not be preventable for people with some of these conditions, following the treatment guidelines suggested by your doctor can help to reduce the severity, duration or frequency of your diarrhea episodes.

4. Control motility disorders.

Problems with the movement of stool through the digestive tract can also lead to diarrhea. When stool moves too quickly through the intestines, not enough fluids are absorbed from the stool, leading to watery, unformed bowel movements. If stool moves too slowly, it can lead to bacteria overgrowth and loose, greasy bowels.

Causes of motility disorders include an overactive thyroid, irritable bowel syndrome, scleroderma and antacids that include magnesium. Some other causes of motility disorders can be actively treated, making the diarrhea they cause rare. For others, however, treatment may be much more difficult. Regardless, diligently following the treatment suggested by your doctor can help greatly.

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