Nursing Notes : Diarrhea Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention


Diarrhea is a disease in which the stool or feces turns into soft or liquid which usually happens at least three times in 24 hours. In developing countries, diarrhea is the most common cause of infant mortality, and also kills more than 2.6 million people annually.


This condition can be a symptom of injury, disease, allergies (fructose, lactose), excess vitamin C, and eating certain fruits. Usually accompanied by abdominal pain and often nausea and vomiting. There are several other conditions involving, but not all symptoms of diarrhea, and the formal medical definition of diarrhea is defecation in excess of 200 grams per day.

Eating food that is acidic, spicy all at once to excess can cause diarrhea as well as making the intestine shock.

This occurs when insufficient fluid is absorbed by the colon. As part of the digestion process, or due to fluid intake, food is mixed with large amounts of water. Therefore digested food consisting of fluid before it reaches the large intestine. The large intestine absorbs water, leaving the remaining material as a semisolid stool. When the large intestine is damaged / inflammation, absorption does not occur and the result is watery stools.

Diarrhea is most commonly caused by a viral infection but also often the result of bacterial toxins. In sanitary living conditions and with ample food and water available, otherwise healthy patient usually recovers from viral infection common in a few days and a maximum of one week. But for individuals who are sick or malnourished, diarrhea can cause severe dehydration and can become life-threatening without treatment.

Diarrhea can be a symptom of more serious diseases, such as dysentery, cholera or botulism, and can also be indicative of a chronic syndrome such as Crohn's disease. Though appendicitis patients do not generally have diarrhea, diarrhea are common symptoms of appendicitis.

Diarrhea can also be caused by excessive alcohol consumption, especially in someone who does not eat enough. so if want to consume alcohol better eating beforehand.

Unstable weather conditions, poor sanitation shelter and housing conditions were still stained with a pool of water, also the difficulty of accessing clean water easily cause diarrhea outbreak after flooding. Diarrhoeal diseases are visible light can actually be life threatening, because when the body is dehydrated, then all organs will be impaired. Diarrhea will be more dangerous if it occurs in children.


Symptoms are usually found is defecate constantly accompanied by prolonged heartburn, dehydration, nausea and vomiting. But other symptoms that can arise include stiffness in the back, and belly rings often.


Treatment for diarrhea involves the patient consuming adequate amounts of water to replace lost, preferably mixed with electrolytes to provide essential salts and some amount of nutrients. ORS and zinc tablets are the treatment of choice and has an estimated primary has saved 50 million children in the last 25 years. For many people, further treatment and formal medical advice is needed.

If not available ORS powder, ORS can be made with the following ingredients:
  • 200 ml of water or a glass the size of a ripe starfruit.
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt.

Diarrhea is usually required under medical supervision:
  • Diarrhea in toddlers
  • Moderate or severe diarrhea in children
  • Diarrhea associated with blood.
  • Diarrhea that continues for more than 2 weeks.
  • Diarrhea is accompanied by other common diseases such as abdominal pain, fever, weight loss, and others.
  • Diarrhea in people traveling (possibly exotic infections such as parasites)
  • Diarrhea in institutions such as hospitals, child care, mental health institutes.


Prevention of diarrhea several ways, among others:
  • Keep hydrated with balanced electrolyte. This is the most appropriate way in most cases of diarrhea, dysentery and even. Consuming large amounts of water are not diseimbangi with edible electrolyte can lead to electrolyte imbalance which is dangerous and in some rare cases can be fatal (water intoxication).
  • Trying to eat more frequently but with smaller portions, regular frequency, and do not eat or drink too fast.
  • Intravenous fluid: sometimes, especially in children, can be life-threatening dehydration and intravenous fluids may be required.
  • Oral rehydration therapy: Drinking a solution of sugar / salt, which can be absorbed by the body.
  • Maintain hygiene and isolation: body hygiene is a major factor in limiting the spread of disease.
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