Understanding the Causes of Diarrhea

Studies show that before the time they reach the age of five, most people will have experienced a case of diarrhea more than ten different times. Besides the common cold, diarrhea is the most popular medical problem among humans in the world today, yet very few people actually understand the causes of diarrhea. If you've always wondered what causes diarrhea, you probably won't be that surprised to learn that there are many different factors that contribute to this common problem. Knowing the most likely diarrhea cause for your condition makes it easier to fix.

What Is Diarrhea?

In order to understand what causes diarrhea, you first must understand how your digestive system works to move waste out of the body. When you eat food, it is broken down and digested by the stomach, which then sends the broken down food onto the rest of the digestive system. There, your intestines and colon get to work absorbing the nutrients and most of the water from the food, leaving only the waste matter behind. When food and fluids pass through your colon too quickly or in too large an amount, it can lead to the most common causes of diarrhea too much liquid in the stool.

Most Common Causes of Diarrhea

If you're tired of suffering from the causes of diarrhea, the easiest thing to do is change your diet or the speed at which you eat. However, these aren't the only diarrhea cause factors that can make it difficult to achieve a normal bowel movement. Here are some additional factors that can answer the question of what causes diarrhea:

  • Viruses - including the Norwalk virus, cytomegalovirus and viral hepatitis, and rotavirus (especially common diarrhea cause in children)
  • Bacteria and parasites - including Giardia lamblia, cryptosporidium, campylobacter, salmonella, shigella and Escherichia coli.
  • Lactose intolerance - Most people have an intestinal enzyme that helps them digest the lactose in milk and dairy products, but when this enzyme is lacking, eating dairy may cause the individual to have bloating, cramps, and diarrhea.
  • Artificial sweeteners - Sorbitol and mannitol as well as other sweeteners found in chewing gum and candy can also act as a diarrhea cause for some people.

Treating the Causes of Diarrhea

It's very important to pay attention to the signals your body is sending you, as they can be instrumental in determining the causes of diarrhea that are most likely to affect you. Most types of diarrhea will only last a few hours, and will subside on their own. If the diarrhea cause is more serious, as in the case of a virus or parasites, it might be necessary to seek more comprehensive treatment. If your doctor determines that the causes of diarrhea are affecting you and are related to an imbalance or invasion of harmful bacteria in your digestive system, there are some natural remedies like probiotic supplements that can help. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help restore balance to your colon, and calm the irritation that is a diarrhea cause.

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