Symptoms of Diarrhoea

By  , Expert Content
Apr 05, 2012

Diarrhoea can vary in severity from mild (slightly watery faeces and a brief upset stomach) to severe (extremely watery faeces associated with cramps in abdomen which may last for days). People with severe diarrhoea may have to go to the toilet frequently and may often need it urgently it. Sometimes severe diarrhoea causes loss of bowel control (more common in children).

Common symptoms of acute diarrhoea include:

  • Repeated loose and watery stools.
  • Cramps in stomach.
  • Pain in stomach.
  • Need to go to the toilet frequently (sometimes there may be an uncontrollable urge to go to the toilet).
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Temperature (may be 1000F or higher).
  • Headache.
  • Loss of appetite (in children it may be bothersome).
  • Tiredness and fatigue.
  • Bloating of abdomen.
  • Blood in stool.

Symptoms of dehydration

Repeated diarrhoea and vomiting can cause dehydration. Loss of electrolytes and water from the body due to dehydration can affect, besides the level of water in the body; electrolyte balance (such as sodium and potassium), muscle activity, and other important functions. Dehydration can be a serious complication of diarrhoea in children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems if it is not treated timely and appropriately. Dehydration can cause serious health problems, such as organ damage, shock, or coma.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration in adults are:

  • Feeling excessively thirsty.
  • Reduce frequency of urination than usual.
  • Dark-coloured urine.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Feeling tired (fatigue).
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration in infants and young children include:

  • Dry mouth and tongue.
  • Lack of tears on crying.
  • Decreased frequency of urination.
  • No wet diapers for 3 hours or more.
  • Sunken eyes, cheeks, or soft spot in the skull.
  • Listlessness or irritability.

In a dehydrated person the skin elasticity decreases (i.e. their skin does not flatten back to normal right away after being gently pinched and released). If you or your child is dehydrated, consult a health care provider immediately. People with severe dehydration may have to be hospitalised for fluid replacement. Drinking plenty of water and oral rehydration solution can help to prevent dehydration.



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