We’ve all been there. A bad feeling in your stomach and digestive tract starts to sneak up on you and you’re hoping there’s a bathroom nearby. Diarrhea is something that happens pretty frequently, even to healthy individuals, and usually includes an urgent need to go to the restroom, loose watery stool, nausea, and bloating. It’s hard to think that having diarrhea might actually be a good thing, but science is actually pointing in that direction.
A recent study conducted by Brigham and Women's Hospital tried to determine whether diarrhea served a useful purpose to your body and its day-to-day functions. The study indicated that it does, indeed. The study was conducted using a mouse that was infected with the rodent equivalent of E. coli. Researchers studied the intestines of the mouse and determined that there was an increase in permeability of the intestinal barrier during the first two days of the infection, before damage could be done. They determined that diarrhea served the useful function of clearing out the digestive tract of the harmful pathogen, which also limited the severity of the infection.
There are a number of reasons that people could have recurring or chronic diarrhea, including certain digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease, celiac, IBS, or colitis. For those who experience more infrequent diarrhea, the cause may be diet related or a result of a virus, bacteria, or parasite.
Although diarrhea, in adults, is common and typically pretty harmless, there are instances when you should contact Carolina Digestive Health Associates to make sure there’s nothing serious going on. If you find yourself experiencing diarrhea for more than two days, if it’s accompanied by severe pain, you’re dehydrated, have a fever, or detect blood in the stool, come in for a check up. Please note, this information is generally based on adults, if your child is experiencing these symptoms you should seek medical attention if it lasts 24 hours. Carolina Digestive Health Associates will be able to conduct an exam to determine a root cause and potential treatment.