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Diarrhoea in developed countries is a common indicator of digestive issues.


Understanding diarrhoea

diarrhoea condition

Diarrhoea is defined by the World Health Organisation (1) as the passage of 3 or more, loose, or liquid stools per day (or more frequent passage than is normal for the individual). Frequent passage of formed stools is not to be considered diarrhoea.

Diarrhoea in developed countries is a common indicator of digestive issues. Ranging from food poisoning with its self-limiting process to the indication of a poor digestive disfunction. For example it can indicate irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a food intolerance, an allergy or overuse of antibiotic medication (2). In less developed countries diarrhoea is life threatening, particularly for young children and the elderly.

Diarrhoea is associated with malabsorption and can be linked to nerve damage. This is apparent when the nerves that control the small intestine are damaged. The most common neurologic diseases are stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and diabetic neuropathy.

Sometimes diarrhoea is a symptom experienced in alcoholism and/or binge drinking. We sometimes observe it being linked to excessive coffee or alcohol consumption.

Diarrhoea may be acute or chronic in presentation. It may even be the early presentation of a chronic problem, serious disorder, allergy, or disease. If you are concerned, please contact your primary care practitioner for further investigation. Gastroenteritis is a non-specific umbrella term used to describe the sudden onset loose stools. Sometimes other symptoms can include nausea and vomiting and diarrhoea can be caused by contact with animals or environmental poisons, viruses, bacteria, or protozoa. Diarrhoea is essentially a symptom, of which there are many probable causes.  

Many herbs are suitable for self-care. However if a health condition does not resolve with home remedies we recommend using the information in Herbal Reality along with your health advisors, especially herbal practitioners from the professional associations listed in our Resources page (‘If you want to find a herbalist”). When buying any herbal products, you should choose responsible manufacturers with independently assured quality standards and sustainability practices. Check the label carefully for the appropriate safety and sustainability information.

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