2015年5月30日 星期六

Treating Your Dog's Diarrhea

Question: Help! my dog has diarrhea—is there anything in my medicine cabinet or on my kitchen shelf that could be used to save both of us a visit to the vet?
Answer: As a veterinarian, this author sees many patients with minor problems (such as the dog in this story) who could be treated at home safely and effectively. At the same time, there are dogs whose problems, if not addressed early enough by a veterinary professional, suffer more than they need to.
Probably the most common complaint received by veterinarians is that of diarrhea. It’s such an easy condition to identify: The smell is unmistakable, as is its chocolate-pudding appearance. Most of the time, diarrhea is caused by a dietary indiscretion or stressful circumstances, and is self-limiting. Diarrhea is not a disease; rather, it is a symptom of a dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). When associated with bad food or food-borne pathogens, diarrhea serves to rapidly remove pathogens from the GIT before they have a chance to be absorbed and cause more damage.

2015年5月23日 星期六

3 Ways to Treat Diarrhea

Fluids, a bland diet, and over-the-counter medicines can help manage your symptoms and ease diarrhea.

Usually, a bout of diarrhea only lasts a few days, going away on its own without any treatment. “However, severe diarrhea, diarrhea that lasts more than a few days, or prolonged episodes of diarrhea are reasons to see a doctor, as they could indicate something more serious,” says Stephen Bickston, MD, AGAF, professor of internal medicine and director of the inflammatory bowel disease program at Virginia Commonwealth University Health Center in Richmond, Va. It's also important to remember that diarrhea treatments for adults, especially medication, may not be the same for children with diarrhea, so always check with your pediatrician before giving your children any medication.

If you do have diarrhea, here are three ways you can ease your discomfort.

1. Be Sure to Stay Hydrated 

Your body can lose a lot of fluids and salts when you have diarrhea, making dehydration a major concern. Frequent loose and watery stools can quickly lead to fluid loss. Here are some easy ways to stay hydrated:  

Select sports drinks. “Sports drinks make sense and are available in a wide variety of flavors," Dr. Bickston says. Sports drink work because of their sugar and salt content, both allow water to be more easily absorbed, and even more so when taken together. People can make their own sports drinks by adding a teaspoon of salt to a quart of apple juice, Bickston says. “That little amount of salt will help the body absorb fluids but isn't enough to make the apple juice taste bad.” Bickston recommends keeping your drinks at room temperature because a warm drink will sit better with you than a cold one.
Stick to clear liquids. Some other good choices for treating diarrhea include clear broth and water (unless you are traveling out of the country).
Avoid drinks that can worsen symptoms. Caffeinated, alcoholic, and sugary drinks can worsen dehydration. Milk and other dairy products can make your symptoms feel worse because diarrhea can cause temporary lactose-intolerance.
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2. Try Eating a Bland Diet

When dealing with a brief bout of diarrhea, you want to keep your diet bland. You may find it best to only have clear liquids for the first 24 hours. Then, you can slowly add bland foods to your diet. Some bland foods include bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast — otherwise known as the BRAT diet. Crackers and mashed potatoes (minus the butter) are also safe.

If your diarrhea lasts more than a few days, you might want to investigate the foods you are eating, as some can irritate your bowel and make diarrhea worse. These include foods high in fiber (bran, whole grains, brown rice) as well as greasy or excessively sweet foods. Foods that are sweetened with sorbitol may also aggravate diarrhea, Bickston says. If loose stools are a problem, then you may want to avoid these foods.

If you suspect your diarrhea is caused by a certain food, try an elimination diet. Cut the suspected food from your diet until you can determine whether or not it is a problem. If it's not the problem, feel free to keep eating that food. “The difficulty I see in a lot of patients is that they don’t put things back into their diet even if they’re not causing a problem, and now they’ve painted themselves into a dietary corner,” Bickston says. “All they’re eating is mashed potatoes and rice.”

3. Try Some Over-the-Counter Medications

In most cases, over-the-counter medications can be helpful in stopping an occasional bout of diarrhea — especially traveler's diarrhea (ingesting contaminated food or water while abroad). Over-the-counter medications include loperamide (Imodium) and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate). “These are reasonable to use on occasion and have the great advantage of not requiring a doctor’s prescription,” Bickston says. However, they should not be used for more than two days.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you take pharmaceutical remedies for traveler's diarrhea, they may make you feel better sooner, but they could keep any bacteria, parasites, or viruses in your system longer. In most cases, diarrhea will go away on its own within in a few days. If your diarrhea persists, talk to your doctor.

2015年5月16日 星期六

What Causes Diarrhea?

Usually, diarrhea is caused by a virus that infects the gut. Some people call it "intestinal flu" or "stomach flu." 
It can also happen due to:
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Allergies to certain foods
  • Diabetes
  • Diseases of the intestines (such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • Eating foods that upset the digestive system
  • Infection by bacteria (the cause of most types of food poisoning) or other organisms
  • Laxative abuse
  • Medications
  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
  • Radiation therapy
  • Running (Some people get “runner’s diarrhea”)
  • Some cancers
  • Surgery on your digestive system
  • Trouble absorbing some nutrients (Doctors call this “malabsorption.”)
Diarrhea may also follow constipation, especially for people who have irritable bowel 

2015年5月9日 星期六

What is Diarrhea

Diarrhea, also spelled diarrhoea, is the condition of having at least three loose or liquid bowel movements each day. It often lasts for a few days and can result in dehydration due to fluid loss. Signs of dehydration often begin with loss of the normal stretchiness of the skin and changes in personality. This can progress to decreased urination, loss of skin color, a fast heart rate, and a decrease in responsiveness as it becomes more severe. Loose but non watery stools in babies who are breastfed, however, may be normal.

The most common cause is an infection of the intestines due to either a virus, bacteria, or parasite; a condition known as gastroenteritis. These infections are often acquired from food or water that has been contaminated by stool, or directly from another person who is infected. It may be divided into three types: short duration watery diarrhea, short duration bloody diarrhea, and if it lasts for more than two weeks, persistent diarrhea. The short duration watery diarrhea may be due to an infection by cholera. If blood is present it is also known as dysentery. A number of non-infectious causes may also result in diarrhea, including hyperthyroidism, lactose intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease, a number of medications, and irritable bowel syndrome. In most cases stool cultures are not required to confirm the exact cause.
Prevention of infectious diarrhea is by improved sanitation, clean drinking water, and hand washing with soap. Breastfeeding for at least six months is also recommended as is vaccination against rotavirus. Oral rehydration solution (ORS), which is clean water with modest amounts of salts and sugar, is the treatment of choice. Zinc tablets are also recommended. These treatments have been estimated to have saved 50 million children in the past 25 years.[1] When people have diarrhea it is recommended that they continue to eat healthy food and babies continue to be breastfeed. If commercial ORS are not available, homemade solutions may be used. In those with severe dehydration, intravenous fluids may be required. Most cases; however, can be managed well with fluids by mouth. Antibiotics, while rarely used, may be recommended in a few cases such as those who have bloody diarrhea and a high fever, those with severe diarrhea following travelling, and those who grow specific bacteria or parasites in their stool. Loperamide may help decrease the number of bowel movement but is not recommended in those with severe disease.
About 1.7 to 5 billion cases of diarrhea occur per year. It is most common in developing countries, where young children get diarrhea on average three times a year. Total deaths from diarrhea are estimated at 1.26 million in 2013 – down from 2.58 million in 1990. In 2012, it is the second most common cause of deaths in children younger than five (0.76 million or 11%). Frequent episodes of diarrhea are also a common cause of malnutrition and the most common cause in those younger than five years of age. Other long term problems that can result include stunted growth and poor intellectual development.