Home Digestive systemDiarrhea Watery diarrhea in adults: causes and treatments

Watery diarrhea in adults: causes and treatments

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

All the food we eat is processed by the body. From there, the nutrients that will feed us are extracted and, on the other hand, waste is produced that will be expelled in the form of feces. Normally, humans have between one to three bowel movements a day, depending on the amount of food they eat.

Sometimes the stools can become more frequent and watery, this is what is called diarrhea. These loose stools can be accompanied by gas, colic, nausea, vomiting, urgency to evacuate, depending on what causes them. At FastlyHealwe tell you about Liquid Diarrhea in adults: causes and treatments.

Symptoms of watery diarrhea in adults

Diarrhea is characterized by an increase in the volume and quantity of stools, as well as a change in the consistency of the stool that becomes softer. In general, we speak of liquid stools that, in addition, may contain blood, mucus, pus and food remains . When diarrhea lasts less than two to three weeks, it is considered acute. If, on the other hand, it lasts for four weeks or more, it is called chronic or persistent diarrhea .

Acute diarrhea is the most common. This type of diarrhea occurs when its duration is less than 4 days, on the other hand, chronic diarrhea, which lasts for more than 4 weeks, may have other symptoms and it is necessary for the doctor to do a physical and clinical examination to be able to determine what the cause is. The causes of diarrhea in adults are very varied. In general, if it is acute diarrhea, the causes are:

  • Infections by viruses, bacteria or parasites : These infections are acquired through the ingestion of contaminated water or food. Symptoms in these cases appear between 30 minutes and 6 hours after ingestion. This usually includes the so-called traveler’s diarrhea, which appears in people who have traveled and consumed foods that they are not used to or poorly processed.
  • Side effects of some medications : such as certain antibiotics, chemotherapy, or laxatives that contain magnesium.

In the case of chronic diarrhea , the most frequent causes are:

  • Irritable bowel .
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Malabsorption syndrome.
  • Allergies and intolerances to certain foods, such as celiac disease.
  • Other diseases such as hyperthyroidism and pancreatic insufficiency.

Very watery diarrhea and other complications

Diarrhea can be accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • Colic.
  • Very smelly gases.
  • Sudden need to evacuate.

In addition, when diarrhea is caused by infectious agents, it can be accompanied by:

  • Fever.
  • Vomiting
  • Sickness.

On the other hand, if the diarrhea is very prolonged or very intense, it can bring with it more complications, such as:

  • Malabsorción.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Dehydration

In these cases it is very important to be vigilant because dehydration , especially in young children and older adults, can have serious consequences. When there is severe diarrhea that leads to dehydration, there is usually a great loss of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, chlorine and bicarbonate. Some of the main symptoms of dehydration are:

  • Soft spot.
  • Very tired.
  • Dizziness.
  • Dry mouth and very thirsty.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Decrease in blood pressure, even causing fainting.
  • Cardiac arrhythmias and other complications.

When the aforementioned symptoms appear, it is necessary to drink liquids that contain salts , such as energy drinks used by athletes, or natural juices. If people are very weak or are vomiting and cannot keep anything in their stomach, they should go to the emergency room for intravenous IV administration . The state of dehydration can be serious for the body.

In prolonged diarrhea it also happens that the intestine does not absorb nutrients well and the patient begins to have certain nutritional deficiencies . This issue can be addressed with supplements and it is best to consult with your doctor if you notice symptoms such as weak nails, hair or significant weight loss, among others.

Liquid diarrhea in adults: treatment

To treat diarrhea, it is best to know the cause that is producing it , although this is not always possible. In the case of mild diarrhea or that has just started, it is best to drink enough liquid in the form of juices and soups. You should also maintain a healthy diet without fiber and eat foods that help stop diarrhea , such as:

  • Carrot.
  • Guava.
  • Green banana.
  • Natural yogurts.
  • White rice.
  • Potato.
  • Boiled fish
  • Grilled meat

Other foods can be added as bowel movements improve. On the other hand, when it is a question of a severe diarrhea or that has lasted more than a week it is advisable to go to the doctor as soon as possible . Also if it is older adults, even if it is mild diarrhea, it is advisable to consult your family doctor, since it is vital to prevent dehydration. The doctor will be able to inquire about the causes of diarrhea and indicate the most appropriate treatment, which can range from antidiarrheal medications , to antibiotics or dewormers, depending on the case. You can also order tests to assess how well your gut is doing and what causes your diarrhea. Clearly, treatment should be aimed at resolving what is causing the diarrhea.

When to see a doctor for watery diarrhea

In many cases of diarrhea, the body tends to react to this annoying condition and overcome it. For example, in cases of viral infection, diarrhea usually does not exceed 48 hours. But when the patient deteriorates and shows weakness and signs of dehydration, do not hesitate to go to the emergency room. See a doctor with the following symptoms :

  • Signs of dehydration.
  • In adults, if it lasts more than 48 hours, in children, if it lasts for 24 hours.
  • Pain that is growing or is very severe.
  • Fever higher than 38.8 Cº.
  • Stools with pus or blood.
  • Black stools.

In young children it is important to see a doctor immediately, since it is a condition that can be dangerous for them. That is the same case as older people.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Liquid diarrhea in adults: causes and treatments , we recommend that you enter our Digestive System category .

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