Viruses and bacteria are usually the triggers for diarrhea like water. On average, it affects adults once a year and children more often. What helps against acute diarrhea – and what those affected should avoid.
How does liquid diarrhea occur?
Viruses such as noroviruses and rotaviruses, but also bacteria such as Salmonela or Campylobecter are common causes of diarrhea. Diarrhea caused by a gastrointestinal infection is an important defense mechanism of the body: it tries to expel the pathogens that cause illness from the body as quickly as possible. Doctors speak of diarrhea when the stool is mushy to liquid and the amount of stool is significantly increased and the evacuation occurs more than three times a day.
What happens in the intestines when you have diarrhea?
If the intestine notices a colonization with pathogens, the defense reaction begins:
- When you have diarrhea, the intestine draws larger amounts of fluid from the surrounding tissue to liquefy the stool (increased secretion).
- In order to increase liquefaction, the absorption of fluid from the intestine into the body is reduced.
- Intestinal movement also accelerates (increased motility). This allows the liquefied stool to be excreted more quickly.
“During diarrhea, the body loses large amounts of fluid and electrolytes, so if the diarrhea is severe, there is a risk that the affected person will become dehydrated, i.e. dry out,” says qualified ecothrophologist Silke Restemeyer from the public relations department of the German Nutrition Society. V. (DGE). Diarrhea can be dangerous, especially in children and older people, and should therefore be treated by a doctor.