diarrhea


diarrhea
diarrheal, diarrheic, diarrhetic /duy'euh ret"ik/, diarrhoeal, diarrhoeic, diarrhoetic, adj.
/duy'euh ree"euh/, n. Pathol.
an intestinal disorder characterized by abnormal frequency and fluidity of fecal evacuations.
Also, diarrhoea.
[1350-1400; ME diaria < LL diarrhoea < Gk diárrhoia a flowing through, equiv. to diarrho- (var. s. of diarrheîn to flow through) + -ia -IA]

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Abnormally fast passage of waste material through the large intestine, resulting in frequent defecation with loose feces and sometimes cramps.

Causes range widely and can include cholera, dysentery, highly seasoned foods or high alcohol intake, poisons (including food poisoning), drug side effects, and Graves' disease. Mild cases of diarrhea are treated with bismuth subsalicylate (trade name Pepto-Bismol); extreme cases are treated with fluid and electrolyte replacement while the underlying disease passes. Traveler's diarrhea affects up to half of people who travel to developing countries. Its prevention includes taking bismuth subsalicylate tablets, drinking only bottled or canned beverages, and eating only peeled fruits, canned products, and restaurant food that is well-cooked. Severe cases require antibiotics. In cases of severe malnutrition, diarrhea is potentially lethal, and it is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths annually in underdeveloped countries.

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also spelled  diarrhoea  

      abnormally swift passage of waste material through the large intestine, with consequent discharge of loose feces from the anus. Diarrhea may be accompanied by cramping. The disorder has a wide range of causes. It may, for example, result from bacterial or viral infection; from dysentery, either amoebic or bacillary; from impaired absorption of nutrients; from eating coarse or highly seasoned foods or drinking large quantities of alcoholic beverages; from poisons such as arsenic (arsenic poisoning) or mercury bichloride; or from drugs administered to reduce high blood pressure. Excessive amounts of thyroid hormones, parathyroid hormone deficiencies, irritable bowel syndrome, and uremia (an excess of nitrogenous wastes in the blood) all may cause diarrhea. Most cases of diarrhea are not serious and do not require treatment; dehydration can be prevented by drinking plenty of clear liquids. Diarrhea caused by an infection can often be treated with antibiotics.

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Universalium. 2010.