What causes diarrhea?
Diarrhea can be the result of a temporary issue, like an infection. It can also be caused by a chronic problem, like an intestinal disorder.
Here follows a list of the most common causes of diarrhea :
- Viral infections : There are several viruses that cause diarrhea. For example: Norwalk virus, herpes simplex virus, rotavirus, and viral hepatitis.
- Bacterial infections : Bacteria contaminated food or water is a common cause of diarrhea. The most common 'food bacteria; are: Salmonella and Campylobacter.
- Food intolerances : When people eat food containing elements they are unable to digest, diarrhea can be the result. A common example is lactose.
- Parasites : They enter settle in the digestive system after entering the body through contaminated food or water. Parasites causing diarrhea are: Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia, and Cryptosporidium.
- Reaction to medicines : For example: antibiotics, blood pressure medications, and antacids containing magnesium.
- Intestinal diseases: (inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease)
- Functional bowel disorders (like Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Surgery : Certain types of procedures like stomach surgery or removal of the gallbladder can cause diarrhea. For stomach surgery a possible reason is the change in time for food to move through the digestive system. In the case of gallbladder surgery it may be because an increase in bile in the colon after the procedure.
Often no apparent cause of diarrhea can be found.
People who travel a lot to developing countries can easily end up with traveler's diarrhea. This is caused by contaminated food or fluids.