Diarrhea, when ignored for a long duration, can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Explore this article to know all about the side effects of diarrhea.

Diarrhea Side Effects

Diarrhea can be described as the passage of frequent stool, unformed or liquid in consistency, through either the body’s natural (anus) or diverted (ostomy) opening. It is more of a symptom, rather than a disease, where a person experiences an increase in the frequency of bowel movements, along with looseness of stools. Diarrhea can be acute or chronic in nature. The diarrhea that lasts from a few days up to a week is called acute diarrhea and one that lasts for more than three weeks is called chronic diarrhea. It can be caused due a number of reasons, which mainly include bacterial infection, viral infection, food intolerances or allergies, parasites, reaction to medications, intestinal disease such as inflammatory bowel disease, functional bowel disorder such as irritable bowel syndrome and surgery on stomach or gall bladder. Read on further to know the side effects of diarrhea.
Side Effects Of Diarrhea
  • One of the major side effects of diarrhea is dehydration. With the frequent passing of watery stools, the body loses excessive fluids and minerals that lead to dehydration. The functions of human body systems can also be affected, as too much loss of body fluid takes place due to over-excretion. So, in case you are suffering from diarrhea, drink lots of water or clear liquids to replenish the body fluids.
  • Some other commonly noticed side effects of diarrhea are thirst and dry mouth. Moderate or severe abdominal pain or tenderness can also be commonly seen in case of diarrhea.
  • Severe diarrhea can lead to heart complications in some cases. To prevent further problems, it is better to consult physician.
  • Diarrhea can also result in nausea and vomiting in some cases.
  • If not treated immediately, diarrhea can lead to severe complications like affected brain function in infants and young children. Infants are more prone to become severely dehydrated and thus, suffer from such problems.
  • Diarrhea itself is a common side effect of certain drugs and medicines. in such a case, the effectiveness of the drugs and medicines gets lessened, once the diarrhea sets in.
  • A person can faint upon standing, due to orthostatic hypotension. This occurs due to reduction in the volume of blood, which causes a drop in blood pressure upon standing.
  • The body loses electrolytes along with water, in cases of prolonged diarrhea. This can lead to deficiency of minerals, especially sodium and potassium.
  • A person suffering from diarrhea can notice abnormalities of chloride and bicarbonate also.
  • One can observe irritation of the anus due to frequent passage of watery stools, when diarrhea sets in.
  • Prolonged and severe diarrhea can lead to kidney failure, diminished urine output, shock and acidosis (too much of acid in the blood).
  • Diarrhea can lead to coma as well, when it is not promptly treated and becomes too severe.
  • In case of pregnant women, acute diarrhea can adversely affect the health of the fetus.

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