3 Common Causes of Diarrhea and How They are Treated

One of the most uncomfortable and painful digestive issues we see in patients is the onset of diarrhea and the nausea, cramps, and weakness that are often associated. Almost everyone will experience diarrhea at some point due to its large list of causes. Below, we have listed three of the most common, as well as ways they may be treated.

Diarrhea from Food Allergies or Intolerances

Food allergies and intolerances are common sources of diarrhea and general stomach upset. Among the most common culprits are lactose, eggs, soy, or gluten. Determining if one of these may be the source of the problem comes down largely to paying attention to diet and taking note of any foods that upset your stomach. Lactose intolerance and Celiac disease are both very common. Each typically causes chronic diarrhea and requires a complete change in dietary habits.

If it does seem that food is playing a role in diarrhea, start addressing the problem by keeping your diet as bland as possible to help ease your digestive system. Until you have a diagnosis, stick to plain foods, like oatmeal, bananas, or toast, and avoid foods with excess fat, sugar, or milk, as well as alcohol.

Diarrhea from Infection

One of three types of infection are responsible for many cases of diarrhea. These are usually accompanied by additional symptoms such as blood in the stool, fever, dizziness, and occasional vomiting. Medical attention is advised in cases such as these. The potential forms of infection include:

  • Viral infections
  • Bacterial infections, which come from contaminated food or water
  • Parasitic infections, such as cryptosporidium enteritis or giardia lamblia.

If your diarrhea is being caused by a bacterial or parasitic infection, a prescription of antibiotics may be needed to treat it. However, if your diarrhea is being caused by a virus, the only true cure is to let it run its course, as antibiotics will yield no result.

Diarrhea from Digestive Disorders

If your diarrhea becomes chronic, it may be the result of a more serious, underlying digestive issue, such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis. In this case, seeking medical attention can help you discover if there is an underlying issue and, if so, how to treat it appropriately.

Whatever is causing your diarrhea, there are a few things you can do to alleviate your symptoms yourself. Replace lost fluids and prevent dehydration by drinking lots of water and electrolyte-filled drinks. In addition, there are many over-the-counter medications that help to ease the cramps, nausea, and light-headedness. Washing your hands regularly with soap and warm water is one of the main steps to take in preventing diarrhea.


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