At least, every once in a lifetime happened an episode of diarrhea, usually of short duration and spontaneous resolution; however, the problem may be more serious if we think of childhood infectious diarrhea as a cause of infant mortality in developing countries.
The diarrhea can be defined as stools liquid or semi liquid three or more times a day.
Essential to distinguish the acute form, which appears suddenly and usually lasts no more than 5-10 days, from chronic long-term.
There are five completely different mechanisms according to which may appear diarrhea, and often two or more mechanisms may be present in the same patient, in particular, is distinguished:
- secretory diarrhea: in this case, the 'intestine pours more liquid inside it, or it absorbs less both at the level of' ileus, both at the level of the colon. It 's usually caused by infectious diseases such as cholera.
- Osmotic diarrhea: an excessive amount of water is drawn from the bloodstream into the intestinal lumen to the presence of the same substance contained in the lumen (e.g. lactose intolerance) or assumption of osmotic laxatives.
- diarrhea motor: the 'increased intestinal motility is the mechanism behind the phenomenon resulting in decreased absorption time as happens, for example, in colon irritable.
- inflammatory diarrhea: the inflamed intestinal mucosa is usually as a result of a 'infection or a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis) or of different nature.
- usually associated diarrhea with blood and resulting in infections with Salmonella, Shigella or Entoameba hystolitica
The fundamental problem of acute diarrhea, in particular, is that it can also cause rapid dehydration with serious consequences, especially in children and in elderly patients.