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1. Why does it occur?
The passage of loose or frequent stools, called loose motion or diarrhoea, may occur due to many reasons. Some of the causes include inflammation of the stomach or intestine due to infection, allergy to a certain food, lactose intolerance, intake of certain medicines like antibiotics, diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and anxiety or stress.
2. How to diagnose the underlying cause of loose motion?
The diagnosis of loose motion is useful in determining an effective treatment. The following methods are used to diagnose the cause of loose motion:
- History of the patient
- Physical examination
- Blood tests and stool tests
- X-ray and ultrasonography of the abdomen and pelvis
-Colonoscopy in which an instrument is inserted into the large intestine through the anus to get a direct view
3. What are the treatments for loose motion?
The exact treatment is based on the cause. The following are commonly used treatments:
- Oral rehydration fluid or through intravenous route
- Medicines to manage infections (antibiotics, antifungals,etc.)
-Medicines to slow down digestion and control diarrhea (loperamide)
- Specific therapy for underlying disease (avoiding milk in case of lactose intolerance)
- Anti-inflammatory medicines
4. What are the complications associated with loose motions?
The most common complications of loose motion include severe dehydration and malnourishment. Excessive dehydration may lead to sunken eyes, unconsciousness, restlessness and irritability. Weakness, nutritional deficiencies and weight loss may occur too. Shock is a rare complication seen in case of uncontrolled loose motions.
5. Can it be fatal?
It is the second leading cause of death and the leading cause of malnourishment in children aged less than 5 years. Loose motions persisting for a long time may be fatal in adults, if they lead to severe dehydration. Therefore, appropriate methods are needed for the prevention and management of loose motion to prevent fatal outcomes.