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What is diarrhoea,causes,symptoms and treatment

Diarrhoea means passing frequent, loose, watery stools 3 or more times in a day. Diarrhoea is of

What is diarrhoea,causes,symptoms and treatment

Diarrhoea means passing frequent, loose, watery stools 3 or more times in a day. Diarrhoea is often accompanied by vomiting. It is very common in children. The commonest cause in this age group is viral. There is therefore usually no need to prescribe antibiotics. Fluid loss occurs quickly in children because of their size. If this is not corrected it may result in dehydration which can be fatal. In children, other diseases like malaria, pneumonia, ear infections, urinary infections, may cause diarrhoea. Examine the child fully to make sure there is no obvious cause for the diarrhoea. The presence of a fever usually indicates an underlying cause.

Never take the complaint of diarrhoea lightly. Always ask how many times that day and the day before the patient has been to the toilet, and the texture of the stools. To one person who usually passes stool once in three (3) days, a motion every day seems like diarrhoea, but to another person this is normal. Giving antibiotics may cause or prolong the diarrhoea except in special circumstances (see below). Malnutrition causes diarrhoea, which in turn also causes malnutrition, setting up a vicious cycle. Never give enemas or laxatives to patients with diarrhoea.

CAUSES OF DIARRHOEA

  1. Viral e.g. Rotavirus
  2. Bacterial e.g. Shigella
  3. Protozoal e.g. Amoebae
  4. Side effects of some medications. e.g. Penicillins

SYMPTOMES OF DIARRHOEA

  1. Frequent watery stools
  2. Blood or mucus in the stool
  3. Presence of fever
  4. Reduced urine output
  5. Associated vomiting
In adults and children older than five (5) years of age, other signs of severe dehydration that may be present are absent radial pulse and low blood pressure. The skin pinch may be less useful in patients with marasmus (severe wasting) or kwashiorkor (severe malnutrition with oedema) or obese patients. Tears are a relevant sign only for infants and young children.

INVESTIGATION OF DIARRHOEA

  1. FBC
  2. Blood film for malaria parasite
  3. Stool routine examination
  4. Stool for culture and sensitivity
  5. Blood urea and creatinine





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