Types of Diarrhea and Their Causes

When an individual passes three or more watery stools in a day, it is safe to conclude that such person is suffering from diarrhea. However, exceptions to this conclusion are new born babies that are exclusively breastfed. Diarrhea can last for a few days, and it often leads to dehydration. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are nearly 1.7 billion cases of diarrheal disease every year. Diarrhea is a leading killer of children. It accounts for nine percent of all deaths among children under age five worldwide in 2015. This means that over 700,000 children die annually as a result of diarrhea.
They are different types of diarrhea that occur in both adults and children. However, for the purpose of this article, we would discuss three types of diarrhea and few of their causes.
Types of Diarrhea
Diarrhea is clinically classified into three. They are as follows:

  • Acute watery diarrhea: This is the most common form of diarrhea. Acute watery diarrhea is a frequent passing of watery or semisolid stool for a few hours or days.
  • Severe bloody diarrhea: Also known as dysentery, bloody diarrhea is characterized by watery stools that have blood. It is associated with infection by Escherichia coli. Additionally, severe bloody diarrhea lasts for seven or more days
  • Persistent diarrhea: This type of diarrhea presents as loose stools that starts acutely and persists for up to two weeks in an individual. It occurs more in children that are less than two years old.

Causes of diarrhea
Similar factors cause all the types of diarrhea above. Some of those causes are shown below:

  • Contaminated food or water: This is a leading cause of diarrhea. Food and water contaminant can be bacteria, viruses, or parasites that are in fecal matter. Most times, the contaminants are from sewage tanks, latrines or any surface with feces. Also, foods that have spoilt are natural breeding grounds for harmful microorganisms. A person that eats such food is predisposed to diarrhea.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): An individual that has abnormal bowel functions has irritable bowel syndrome. For such person, the gut would always want to expel anything that enters into it. Furthermore, IBS makes it difficult for food to digest properly in an individual. It causes food to pass through the gut quickly, thereby resulting in diarrhea.
  • Malnutrition: Several children suffering from malnutrition are defenseless against diarrhea. The immune systems of such malnourished children cannot fight common microorganisms. Due to this, they get infected easily and suffer from diarrhea.
  • Food allergy: People, who are allergic to food, would fail to tolerate a certain protein in a particular food. Their immune system automatically rejects the food. One of the ways the immune system responds to the foreign protein is to start to cause loose stools. However, if the allergy is not discovered promptly, it can lead to persistent diarrhea.

In a Nut Shell
Diarrhea is a disease that can be prevented. Practicing proper hygiene is an effective way of staying free from the illness. Also, make sure you eat healthy food always. However, if you experience up to three loose stools within a few hours, stay hydrated. But if the stool persists, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Photo Credit: Thewellproject