What causes diarrhea?
Diarrhea may be caused by a temporary problem, like an infection, or a chronic problem, like an intestinal disease. A few of the more common causes of diarrhea are:
- Bacterial infections. Several types of bacteria, consumed through contaminated food or water, can cause diarrhea. Common culprits include Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, and Escherichia coli.
- Viral infections. Many viruses cause diarrhea, including rotavirus, Norwalk virus, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, and viral hepatitis.
- Food intolerances. Some people are unable to digest some component of food, such as lactose, the sugar found in milk.
- Parasites. Parasites can enter the body through food or water and settle in the digestive system. Parasites that cause diarrhea include Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica, and Cryptosporidium.
- Reaction to medicines, such as antibiotics, blood pressure medications, and antacids containing magnesium.
- Intestinal diseases, like inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease.
- Functional bowel disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, in which the intestines do not work normally.
Some people develop diarrhea after stomach surgery or removal of the gallbladder. The reason may be a change in how quickly food moves through the digestive system after stomach surgery or an increase in bile in the colon that can occur after gallbladder surgery.
In many cases, the cause of diarrhea cannot be found. As long as diarrhea goes away on its own, an extensive search for the cause is not usually necessary.
When should a doctor be consulted?
Although usually not harmful, diarrhea can become dangerous or signal a more serious problem. You should see the doctor if any of the following is true:
- You have diarrhea for more than 3 days.
- You have severe pain in the abdomen or rectum.
- You have a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
- You see blood in your stool or have black, tarry stools.
- You have signs of dehydration.
What is the treatment?
In most cases, replacing lost fluid to prevent dehydration is the only treatment necessary. Medicines that stop diarrhea may be helpful in some cases, but they are not recommended for people whose diarrhea is caused by a bacterial infection or parasite—stopping the diarrhea traps the organism in the intestines, prolonging the problem. Instead, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics. Viral causes are either treated with medication or left to run their course, depending on the severity and type of the virus.
Acupuncture to treat diarrhea
There are the acupressure points for relieving Diarrhea. Working on these points can help you get better quicker. You do not have to use all of these points. Using just one or two of them whenever you have a free hand can be effective.
- Points (A) — Abdominal Sorrow
Location: Below the edge of the rib cage one-half inch in from the nipple line. Benefits: Relieves diarrhea, ulcer pain, indigestion, appetite imbalances, and abdominal cramps.
- Points (B) — Sea of Energy
Location: Two finger widths directly below the belly button. Benefits: Relieves chronic diarrhea, constipation, and gas; strengthens the abdominal muscles.
- Points (C) — Three Mile Point
Location: Four finger widths below the kneecap, one finger width on the outside of the shinbone. If you are on the correct spot, a muscle should flex as you move your foot up and down. Benefits: Strengthens the whole body, tones the muscles, aids digestion, and relieves stomach disorders.
- Points (D) — Travel Between
Location: At the juncture of the big and second toes. Benefits: Relieves diarrhea, stomachaches, headaches, and nausea.
- Points (E) — Grandfather Grandson
Location: On the arch of the foot, one thumb width in back of the ball of the foot. Benefits: Relieves indigestion, diarrhea, stomachaches, and nausea.
It’s important to drink plenty of warm water after the massage, to help clear away toxic substances in our body.
For more information about how acupuncture and other treatments can help you, please contact Board Certified Licensed Acupuncturist, Steve Drugan,B.S., L.Ac., at 614.218.6287 or click here. Taking new patients in and around Columbus, Ohio