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Diarrhea is when a patient experiences frequent and loose watery bowel movements. It is a short-lived condition that lasts for 2-3 days. However, its prolonged persistence implies underlying medical conditions such as bacterial or viral infection, food allergies, or medication reactions. Patients also experience fever, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, weakness, high heart rate, low blood pressure, and low energy levels following diarrhea.
According to World Health Organization, diarrhea is classified into three types as follows:
Acute diarrhea is characterized by frequent watery bowel movements lasting several hours or days. It also occurs in response to diseases like cholera.
Chronic diarrhea/persistent diarrhea is when a patient experiences extremely loose motion lasting for 14 days or longer.
Dysentery is also a form of acute diarrhea. It occurs due to a stomach infection causing frequent bowel movements with bloody or mucus discharge.
Multiple causes can lead to diarrhea, including:
Bacterial or viral infection in the stomach or intestine
Contaminated food or water
Medicinal reaction or hormonal treatment
Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome
Stomach or gall bladder surgery
Metabolic conditions like thyroid disease
Underlying medical conditions
In diarrhea, a patient may experience the following symptoms:
Frequent visits to the bathroom due to loose motion
Abdominal cramps, bloating, and upset stomach with pain
Dehydration, skin, and oral dryness
Fever and vomiting
Less urination and bloody stool
Diarrhea can become a life-threatening disease if left untreated. Therefore, if you are experiencing diarrhea, you should get medical assistance at your earliest convenience.
A physician recommends the following tests for evaluating the disease:
Complete blood test
The qualified top doctors in Pakistan provide treatment for diarrhea which includes;
Fruit juices, therapeutic juices, water, and yogurt
Low-fiber food intake
Medications including anti-diarrheal, salicylates, or probiotics
However, for severe persistent diarrhea, a physician can refer to the gastroenterologist for a detailed evaluation and diagnosis. Call to know the diarrhea treatment price in Pakistan.
Diarrhea caused by medical conditions cannot be avoided, yet bacterial or infectious diarrhea can be prevented. You may avoid it by:
Maintaining good hygiene by washing hands regularly
Drinking pure water and staying hydrated
Eating thoroughly cleaned fruits and vegetables
Eating cooked chicken, meat, and other poultry foods
If not treated, diarrhea may cause:
Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance in the body
Hemolytic uraemic syndrome
Loss of consciousness
Diarrhea symptoms can be:
There are a number of reasons for diarrhea:
Viruses that can cause diarrhea are the Norwalk virus, cytomegalovirus, and viral hepatitis. In children the most common cause of diarrhea is Rotavirus.
Bacteria and Parasites:
Parasites and bacteria can be transmitted through water and contaminated food. Parasites like Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium can cause diarrhea.
Common bacterial causes of diarrhea are Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, and Escherichia coli. When traveling to developing countries, diarrhea caused by bacteria and parasites is often referred to as traveler's diarrhea. Infection with Clostridium difficile can occur especially after antibiotic therapy.
Many medications like antibiotics can cause diarrhea. Antibiotics can alter the natural balance of bacteria in the gut. Other drugs that cause diarrhea are anticancer drugs and antacids that contain magnesium.
Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. By eating dairy products some people face difficulty in digesting lactose. Your body produces an enzyme that contributes to the digestion of lactose. In most people, however, the level decreases rapidly after childhood. This leads to an increased risk of lactose intolerance with age.
Fructose, a sugar found naturally in fruits and honey and added to certain beverages as a sweetener, can cause diarrhea in people who have difficulty digesting it.
Artificial sweeteners found in chewing gum and other sugar-free products can cause diarrhea in some healthy people.
Some people suffer from diarrhea following abdominal surgery or gallbladder removal. Other causes, such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, microscopic colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome can also lead to diarrhea.
Risk factors for diarrhea include:
Children and infants are at an elevated risk of diarrhea due to susceptibility to dehydration. Elderly people also face similar concerns.
Lack of sanitation facilities and hygienic practices is one of the biggest risk factors associated with diarrhea.
Some medicines including antibiotics have the capability to disrupt normal intestinal functioning.
Diseases like kidney problems and diabetes can lead to diarrhea.
Wash your hands to prevent the spread of diarrhea. To ensure adequate handwashing:
Wash Hands Frequently:
Wash hands before and after preparing food. Wash your hands after handling raw meat, using the toilet, changing nappies, sneezing, coughing and tasting the nose.
Foam with Soap for at least 20 Seconds:
Rub your hands at least 20 seconds after putting soap in your hands. This is the time to sing "Happy Birthday" twice.
Use Hand Sanitizer:
Use a hand sanitizer if it is not possible to wash it. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you can not go to the sink. Apply the hand sanitizer as a hand lotion and be sure to cover the front and back with both hands. Use a product that contains at least 60% alcohol.
With one of two approved vaccines, your child can be protected from rotavirus, the most common cause of diarrhea in children. Ask your baby's doctor to get vaccinated.
Prevent Diarrhea by Travelers:
Diarrhea usually affects people traveling to countries where hygiene is inadequate and the food is contaminated. To reduce your risks:
Look What You Eat:
Eat hot and well-cooked food. Avoid raw fruits and vegetables if you can not peel it yourself. Also, avoid meat and dairy products that are raw or undercooked.
Look What you Drink:
Drink bottled water, soft drinks, beer or wine in the original packaging. Avoid tap water and ice cubes. Use bottled water, even to brush your teeth. Keep your mouth closed while showering.
Drinks based on boiled water, such as coffee and tea, are probably safe. Remember that alcohol and caffeine can make diarrhea and dehydration worse.
Ask your doctor for Antibiotics:
If you travel to a developing country for a long time, ask your doctor if you need to start taking antibiotics before you take them, especially if your immune system is weakened. In some cases, taking an antibiotic may reduce the risk of traveler's diarrhea.
Check the Travel Warnings:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintain a health website for travelers on which disease warnings for various countries are published. If you plan to travel outside the United States, read the warnings and tips to reduce the risk.
If you get diarrhea while traveling seek diarrhea treatment immediately to avoid complications.