After cramming for last few days about what should be the next post in health section of this blog, thought of dropping down few lines on loose motion. If you have never heard about this phrase before, let me help you, it means loose stool. Not sure if this is an officially acceptable phrase or not but this is used by many doctors and patients around the globe.
Diarrhea may be a common phrase for many, which probably means the same as loose motion. Loose motion or diarrhea can be watery or bloody. When loose stool is accompanied by blood, it is called dysentery.
Although many people tend to take loose motion less seriously, it can be fatal and in developing nations is an important killer of children. Today in this post we will try to explore the various causes of this problem.
Firstly, lets look into the infective causes. Well loose motion can occur due to infections caused by viruses, bacteria, protozoa etc.
Viral diarrhea is common in children and a common virus responsible for this is rota virus. There are plenty of other viruses which can cause loose stool.
Bacteria are too blamed for causing loose stool. Some bacteria can precipitate sudden massive episodes of loose stool, due to food poisoning, generally with in 4 to 6 hours of consumption of contaminated food; staphylococcus is particularly important in this regard. Certain vibrio species infection can occur after ingestion of certain sea fishes like shellfishes.
Cholera is also cause by bacteria (a common strain in this regard is known as Vibrio cholerae). Generally they present with watery stool often its consistency is compared with rice water.
Campylobacter, another bacteria, can cause loose motion, which might be watery or bloody. They are generally common after eating infected poultry products.
Without mentioning which, discussion on bacterial diarrhea can’t be complete is Clostridium difficile. This bug causes diarrhea after a person is for sometime on certain antibiotics like clindamycin or ampicillin. They are generally treated with antibiotics like metronidazole and vancomycin depending upon the scenario.
Fungal diarrhea might also occur, we are not discussing it here.
Next, lets check out the protozoans which can cause loose motion. Infamous in this list can cause giardiasis, amebiasis etc. In Giardiasis, stool is generally watery, whereas in amebiasis its bloody. Another bug in this list is called cryptosporidium, which causes diarrhea in immunocompromised individuals like those infected with HIV.
Other than infection, intolerance to certain food products can cause loose motion too. For example, those who are deficient of an enzyme called lactase are more susceptible to a condition called lactose intolerance, in which consumption of milk or milk products cause loose stool along with bloating and passing excessive flatus.
Another similar digestion defect related diarrhea is caused by a condition called Celiac disease. In this disease condition the affected individual is unable to digest edible products made of grains containing gluten like wheat, barley, rye etc. This condition happens due to some antibodies, which are formed by our body. These antibodies, attacks our own gastrointestinal system when they find gluten products in our body and causes destruction of intestinal villi which is required to absorb the food products. Therefore, gluten causes inflammation in side our gut and resulting to loose stool.
In the list of autoimmune type diseases two more important are Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis. These diseases can present with long term loose motion, often associated with blood and can cause colon cancer in long run, therefore requires regular checkups.
Certain cancers like those of colon may present with diarrhea but not necessarily.
In the list next are drugs. Certain drugs might cause loose stool as their side effects. The list is huge, therefore we will talk about some of those. Certain antibiotics can cause diarrhea, which we already discussed above. Next are anticancer medications (also called chemotherapy) which can also cause diarrhea. Commonly used anti-ulcer drugs like omeprazole and cimetidine might also be listed as dirty drugs causing loose stool episodes.
That was a quick discussion about various possible causes of loose stool. The topic is huge and here I just tried to keep few important fragments of it, in simple format. Latter on we will discuss various ways of prevention and treatment of loose stool.
For all your health concerns please be guided by your healthcare provider and not this blog. Cross check information here from other sources too.