Diarrhea

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Diarrhea (DIE-uh-REE-uh), also spelled diarrhoea, happens when the body makes more watery feces than normal. In a baby it is the most common symptom of malnutrition. This means not eating enough, or well enough. Diarrhea can occur in humans as well as most other mammals.

Diarrhea is not a disease. It is a condition that a body can be in. However, there are many diseases that can cause your body to have diarrhea. Most are temporary and related to diet - the food you eat. Food safety and hand washing can lower the risk of getting diarrhea. Stress and drinking too much alcohol or caffeine can also cause diarrhea.

In developing nations, malnutrition is a common cause of child death. Part of the deaths from malnutrition are caused by diarrhea. Another way diarrhea can kill you is by dehydration (losing too much water in the body). Because diarrhea is watery in nature, it takes away a lot of the water in your body. Diarrhea is often treated with aspirin or glucose - these reduce pain and may stop some symptoms for a while. However, if it was because of malnutrition, it will not save the child's life. Spending money on rehydrating salts, clean water, and more food is the most direct way to cure diarrhea from malnutrition.

The opposite of diarrhea, firm feces, is often a sign of good digestive health, however having feces that is too dry or hard is called constipation and can lead to other medical problems. Some people adopt vegetarian diets with high dietary fibre to prevent diarrhea and other digestive problems.[source?]

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