Nine litres or liquid pass through the intestine every day. This liquid comes from food and various bodily secretions. In normal conditions, about 1,7% (or 150ml) of this liquid is eliminated in the stools. The remainder is recuperated. When this liquid is not reabsorbed (recuperated) properly, the stools become more watery. This is called diarrhea. It can be caused by many factors such as stress, medication’s side effect or an infection (e.g. “Gastro”). Even though the diarrhea caused by the gastro is rarely appreciated, it is quite useful; it allows rapid evacuation of microbes that have found their way into the intestine. However, if diarrhea lasts for for more than 48 hours or is accompanied by fever, dizziness, severe cramps or if there is blood in the stools, you should seek for medical advice.
What should you do is you have diarrhea? First, to avoid dehydration, drink an oral rehydration solution (refer to News and Views previous article) in order to replace the loss of mineral salts, sugar and water. For infants and toddlers, continue breastfeeding during episodes of diarrhea but offer some rehydration solution between feedings. If the infant is not breastfed, continue formula feedings and give 60-90 ml or rehydration solution every 30-60 minutes. Finally, for older children, continue to offer food and make them drink the rehydration solution for 24 hours.
To conclude this article, I have to discuss about antidiarrheal medication (Imodium, Kaopectate). First, know that they slow the movements of the intestine giving it the chance to reabsorbe as much water as possible. Nevertheless, they should NOT BE USED in cases of gastro because they will hinder the body capacity to expell diarrhea-causing organisms and will make the situation worse. They should also be never used if the diarrhea is accompanied by fever.