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    pink loader

    Loose Motion (Diarrhea) - Symptoms, Causes, Tablets and Treatments

    • 4.5   (1 Votes)
    Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MS, MBBS on 19 Jul 2019 - Written by Dr. Astha Dayal - MRCOG, Diploma, MBBS - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MS, MBBS

    Loose motions or Diarrhea is a condition of having three or more loose bowel movements in a day. Infections, food poisoning and medications can cause loose motion. Fever, vomiting, nausea are some of the common symptoms. Loperamide, bismuth and loxacin tablets can be used for treating loose motion.

    Loose motion or diarrhea is abnormally watery bowel movements that can have a range of different causes. It is a common cause of death in many developing countries and the second most common reason for infant deaths worldwide. The loss of fluids during diarrhea can cause dehydration and electrolyte disturbances. They are not usually associated with any severe health risks and are very common. Loose motion often occurs after eating but can also happen at other points in the day. When loose motion occurs consecutively on multiple occasions throughout a day, this is described as diarrhea. People of all ages are affected by it and some types are infectious. (1)

    An average adult may get loose motion four or more times a year, and long-term effects are rare. Chronic diarrhea lasts longer than four weeks. An inflammatory bowel condition such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease may be associated with it. Children and infants with diarrhea should consult a doctor as soon as possible. Chronic diarrhea also has a considerable effect on health, as well as on economic and social well-being. Patients with celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and other prolonged diarrheal illnesses can develop nutritional deficiencies that can affect growth and immunity. Diarrhea can affect social interaction and result in the loss of many working hours. (2)

    In this article, we will look at:

    1. What are the common Symptoms of Diarrhea?
    2. What are the Common Causes of Diarrhea?
    3. What types of Complications are involved in Loose Motions?
    4. What Kinds of Treatment are Available for Loose Motion?
    5. What are the Different types of Tablets Available to treat Diarrhea?

    1. What are the Common Symptoms of Diarrhea?

    Loose motion occurs because more fluid passes through the colon (large intestine) than the organ can absorb. The colon can absorb several times more fluid than is required on a daily basis. When this reserve capacity is overwhelmed, diarrhea occurs. Diarrhea is caused by illness or infections that either lead to excess production of fluids or prevents absorption of fluids. Also, certain substances in the colon, such as bile acids and fats, can interfere with water absorption and cause diarrhea. In addition, rapid passage of material through the large intestine can also do the same. (3) 

    Symptoms related to any diarrheal illness are often those related with any injury to the gastrointestinal tract such as fever, vomiting, abdominal pain or nausea. All or none of these may be present depending on disease-causing diarrhea. The number of bowel movements can vary up to twenty or more per day. In some patients, blood or pus may be present in the stool. (4) (5)

    The most common symptoms of loose stools include :

    • Watery stools
    • Soft or mushy stools
    • Shapeless stools

    One can also have other gastrointestinal symptoms like:

    • Stomach cramps
    • Stomach pain
    • Nausea

    Gastrointestinal Symptoms

    2. What are the Common Causes of Diarrhea?

    The most common causes of loose motion or acute diarrhea are infections (the cause of traveler's diarrhea), food poisoning and medications. Medications are frequent and often overlooked causes of diarrhea especially antacids and antibiotics. Less often, various sugar-free foods contain poorly absorbable materials that can cause diarrhea. Some infections can become chronic. This occurs mainly with parasitic infections such as Giardia (intestinal infection) or when patients have altered immunity like AIDS. (6) (7)

    Given below are the more usual causes of chronic diarrhea:

    • AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
    • Other bowel tumors and colon cancer
    • Endocrine or hormonal abnormalities such as thyroid, diabetes mellitus, etc.
    • Food allergy
    • Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
    • Lactose intolerance
    • Malabsorption syndromes like Celiac and Whipple's disease
    • Other causes such as alcohol, microscopic colitis, radiation and surgery

    3. What types of Complications are involved in Loose Motions?

    The major effects of diarrhea include malnutrition, dehydration, and weight loss. Signs of dehydration can be hard to notice, but increasing thirst, weakness or lightheadedness (particularly if worsening on standing), dry mouth or a darkening/decrease in urination are some of the signs to look for it. Severe dehydration leads to changes in the body's chemistry and can sometimes become life-threatening. Dehydration from diarrhea can result in kidney failure, arthritis, skin problems, and other neurological symptoms. (8)

    Loose Motions

    4. What Kinds of Treatment is Available for Loose Motion?

    Treatment is ideally directed toward correcting the cause, however, the first aim should be to treat or prevent dehydration and nutritional deficiencies. The type of fluid and nutrient replacement depends on the severity of fluid losses and whether oral feedings can be taken. ORS (Oral rehydration solution) or intravenous fluids are the preferred choices. A doctor should be notified if the patient is dehydrated, and if oral replacement is suggested then commercial (Pedialyte and others) or homemade preparations can be used. (9) The WHO (World Health Organization) has provided this easy recipe for home preparation, which can be taken in small frequent sips:

    • Table salt—3/4 Tsp
    • Baking powder—1 Tsp
    • Orange juice—1 c
    • Water—1 qt (1l)

    Anti-motility agents such as loperamide and diphenoxylate are useful for those with chronic symptoms. Their use is limited or even contradicted in most individuals with acute diarrhea, especially in those with bloody bowel movements or high fever

    Other treatments are also available, depending on the cause of symptoms. For example, the bulk agent psyllium helps some patients by absorbing excess fluid and solidifying stools. Cholestyramine binds bile acids and is effective in treating bile salt induced diarrhea. Diets based on low fats or more easily digestible fat is useful in some patients. Another approach for some diseases is the new anti-diarrheal drugs that decrease the excessive secretion of fluid by the intestinal tract. Avoidance of medications or other products that are known to cause diarrhea such as lactose is curative in some but should be first discussed with a physician.

    5. What are the Different types of Tablets Available to treat Diarrhea?

    One can buy over-the-counter (OTC) medicines without a prescription from the doctor. Some OTC medicines are helpful in reducing the symptoms of diarrhea. These are called antidiarrheal medicines. Antidiarrheal medicines include (10):

    • Loperamide (1 brand name: Imodium): Loperamide works by slowing down the movement of the gut. It decreases the number of bowel movements and makes the stool less watery. It is also used to reduce the amount of discharge in patients who have undergone an ileostomy. Loperamide is also used to treat on-going diarrhea in people with inflammatory bowel disease.
    • Bismuth Subsalicylate (2 brand names: Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol): Bismuth subsalicylat is sold under the brand name Pepto-Bismol. It is an antacid medication used to treat temporary discomforts of the stomach and gastrointestinal tracts such as diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, and indigestion. It is also commonly known as pink bismuth. 
    • Ofloxacin: Ofloxacin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic used to treat a variety of conditions such as diarrhea, bronchitis, pneumonia and gonococcal infection. Ofloxacin, when combined with ornidazole yields bests result in case of loose motion. 
    • Dimenhydrinate: Dimenhydrinate is an antihistamine used to prevent and treat nausea, vomiting, and dizziness caused by motion sickness. This medication should not be used for children younger than two years unless directed by the doctor.

    Follow all directions on the product package. If the doctor has prescribed this medication, take it as directed. Consult a doctor or pharmacist if you are uncertain about any of the information. Inform them if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.


    Other Treatments:

    • Immediate treatments to stop loose stools include:
    • Taking anti-diarrheal medications
    • Consuming more fiber
    • Staying hydrated
    • Adding honey to your diet
    • Avoiding food and drinks that are triggers 
    • Taking probiotics which are available at local grocery stores, pharmacies, and online

    Diarrhea often gets cured within a few days without treatment, or with the help of some home remedies but in case of severe diarrhea, it can last more than a few days. Prolonged episodes of diarrhea are reason enough to see a doctor, as they could indicate something more serious. It is also important to remember that diarrhea treatments for adults, especially medication, may not be the same for children, so always check with your pediatrician before giving your children any medication.

    If you are interested in articles related to wellness and medicine related information, you can follow Elawoman blog. Elawoman can also assist you in getting information about the best IVF doctors and best IVF hospitals near you. Book an appointment with Elawoman by calling us at +918929020600

    Dr. Astha Dayal

    Written by

    MRCOG, Diploma, MBBS, MD
    Obstetrician, Infertility Specialist

    Dr. Astha Dayal is an infertility specialist who has been practising for many years to help women conceive naturally as well as with the help of assisted techniques. Her extensive knowledge in Dysmenorrhea Treatment, High-Risk Pregnancy, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and Abortion and Infertility Treatments makes her one of the most preferred Gynecologists in Gurgaon.

    She completed MBBS and MD in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from G B Pant Hospital and Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi in 2003 and 2008 respectively. Following this, she pursued MRCOG from Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London in 2011. She is also a member of World Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons (WALS), Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), London and Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI). You can get the contact details of Dr. Astha Dayal at



    1 Comment


    Manendra Vasudhara

    Feb. 21, 2019, 11:38 a.m. 4.5

    Leave a Comment



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