Diarrhea or loose, watery stool affects many individuals every now and then. An acute case of diarrhea has an abrupt onset that arises due to viral ailments, parasites or bacterial infections. As for chronic diarrhea, it causes 3 or more episodes of loose stools in a day for more than a month. This form of diarrhea can cause various effects in the body that can be severe and dangerous.
Certain ailments such as Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome disrupt with the absorbing ability of the intestines, thus resulting to chronic diarrhea. The loss of fluids that occurs with these conditions results to dehydration.
If left untreated, dehydration can be serious. A mild case can be managed with rehydration measures which includes increasing the intake of fluids.
If the intestines could not absorb fluids, the electrolytes or minerals are left in the stool and flushed out with the diarrhea. The right balance of electrolytes is required to maintain normal functioning of the blood and organs.
The main electrolytes present in the body include potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, phosphate, chloride and carbonate. Individuals with chronic diarrhea should be given electrolytes by drinking juices and broth instead of plain water.
Since the small intestine absorb nutrients, a malfunction that results to chronic diarrhea can lead to malnutrition. It is important to note that malnutrition increases one’s susceptibility for infections leading to diarrhea.