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Diarrhoea Any attack of frequent watery stools is called diarrhoea. Many different conditions can trigger it. Acute diarrhoea is often caused by an infection and may require medical management. The primary role of nutrition in acute diarrhoea is to prevent depletion of fluid, sodium, potassium, and calories. Replenishment of all four has been achieved with rehydration solutions and with a variety of foods, from salted carrot soup to peeled scraped apple to rice gruel. However, the need for rehydration requires direct medical supervision. Therefore, nutritional approaches to overcoming depletion of fluid, sodium, potassium, and calories are not discussed here, but rather should be discussed with a doctor. Diarrhoea-induced low blood sugar, dehydration, or electrolyte imbalance can be serious or even life-threatening, particularly if prolonged in children. A healthcare provider should be consulted if diarrhoea continues for more than a few days, as it may indicate a more serious health condition. Many people who have diarrhoea with intermittent constipation have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) . People who have been diagnosed with IBS should read the IBS article this article does not apply to people with IBS. Conventional treatment options: Rest and fluid replacement (sometimes with the use of oral rehydration solutions such as ) are often recommended. Severe diarrhoea, especially in children and the elderly, may require hospitalization for urgent fluid and electrolyte replacement to correct dehydration. Medicines to stop diarrhoea, such as loperamide (Imodium®) , bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol®) , attapulgite ) , diphenoxylate ( , and opiates (codeine, paregoric) may be prescribed in some cases. Dietary changes that may be helpful: Some foods contain sugars that absorb slowly, such as fructose in fruit juice or sorbitol in dietetic confectionery. Through a process called osmosis, these unabsorbed sugars hold onto water in the intestines, sometimes leading to diarrhoea. By reading labels, people with chronic non-infectious diarrhoea can easily avoid fruit juice, fructose, and sorbitol to see if this eliminates the problem. People who are lactose intolerant meaning they lack the enzyme needed to digest milk sugar often develop diarrhoea after consuming milk or ice cream. People whose lactose intolerance is the cause of diarrhoea will rid themselves of the problem by avoiding milk and ice cream or in many cases by taking lactase, the enzyme needed to digest lactose. Lactase is available in a variety of forms in pharmacies.




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