Diarrhea In An Adult - Causes And Symptoms Of Diarrhea With Fever And Vomiting, Its Color And Treatment

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Video: Diarrhea In An Adult - Causes And Symptoms Of Diarrhea With Fever And Vomiting, Its Color And Treatment

Video: Diarrhea In An Adult - Causes And Symptoms Of Diarrhea With Fever And Vomiting, Its Color And Treatment
Video: What is Diarrhoea? Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment. 2023, March
Diarrhea In An Adult - Causes And Symptoms Of Diarrhea With Fever And Vomiting, Its Color And Treatment
Diarrhea In An Adult - Causes And Symptoms Of Diarrhea With Fever And Vomiting, Its Color And Treatment

Symptoms, color and causes of diarrhea


  • What is diarrhea?
  • Causes of diarrhea in adults
  • Types of diarrhea
  • Diarrhea symptoms
  • Diarrhea color in an adult
  • Treatment of diarrhea in adults
  • Diet for diarrhea in adults

What is diarrhea?

Diarrhea is a person's condition in which frequent bowel movements are noted, while the stool is watery. This condition is dangerous because it can lead to dehydration. Diarrhea can be caused by infections of the digestive tract, unhealthy diet, stress conditions, and drug poisoning.

Also, the cause of the disease can be the presence of worms or intestinal dysbiosis. It is worth closely monitoring the frequency of the stool, paying attention to its smell (sour, putrid), color (gray, white), blood admixture.

There are several types of stool disorders, for their definition there are specific characteristics that, in fact, distinguish this symptom from the norm.

Clear criteria and the differences between them are shown in the table:

Diarrhea causes
Diarrhea causes

The data given in the table require a little clarification, since the boundaries of the norm and pathology are individual for each person. All generally accepted physiological indicators are of an average nature, combining a fairly wide range of them. First of all, it is worth clarifying the indicator of the number of daily bowel movements. For some people, it ranges from once every 2-3 days to 3-4 times a day. Likewise, this applies to the consistency of feces, which can be from liquid-mushy to solid-shaped.

The most important thing in evaluating these characteristics of bowel movements is their duration. If they take place for a long time (long months and years), without causing any negative manifestations in a person, then you should not worry, since such features are individual. It's not diarrhea.

This is not the case with other stool characteristics such as odor and impurities. Their change always indicates diarrhea. Moreover, from time to time, by their appearance, you can clearly determine its origin. Therefore, it is so important to always pay attention to feces, because they speak about the state of digestion and the health of the body as a whole.

Diarrhea is a pathological symptom characterized by an increase in the number of bowel movements or the appearance of liquid feces, which were not noted until a certain point. It is almost always accompanied by the presence of various impurities in the feces.

Causes of diarrhea in adults

Diarrhea causes
Diarrhea causes

Diarrhea is a consequence of improper functioning of the intestinal tract: the digestive process is accelerated, and this leads to a thinning of bowel movements and frequent bowel movements.

As a rule, viral or bacterial infections or food poisoning are the cause of diarrhea. Diarrhea is usually caused by Escherichia coli and Salmonella bacteria, and can be found in food or water. The diarrhea caused by a bacterial infection is most often suffered by tourists traveling to exotic countries. It is not for nothing that this type of disease is sometimes called "tourist diarrhea."

Diarrhea can be caused by herpes simplex viruses or hepatitis, as well as taking antibiotics.

Ulcerative colitis can become another cause of diarrhea. It also causes severe diarrhea, but colitis is detected very late and, as a rule, with an internal examination of the intestines.

Given the close contact of the digestive system with the external environment and internal systems of the body, you can safely notice its persistent dependence on them. That is why she is so often exposed to disease. Most often, any irritation or failure in normal functioning is manifested by accelerated motor skills, mucus production, and ultimately diarrhea.

A complete list of causes of diarrhea are given below:

Viral infections

  1. Rotaviruses;
  2. Enteroviruses;
  3. Adenovirus;

Bacterial infections

  1. Salmonellosis;
  2. Dysentery (shigellosis);
  3. Cholera;
  4. Food toxicoinfections;
  5. Escherichiosis;

Enzymatic deficiency

  1. Pancreatitis;
  2. Cholelithiasis with impaired bile outflow;
  3. Fermentopathy;
  4. Congenital intolerance to certain foods;

Bowel disease

  1. Enteritis;
  2. Enterocolitis;
  3. Nonspecific ulcerative colitis;
  4. Crohn's disease;
  5. Whipple's disease;

Tumor growths

  1. Polyps;
  2. Adenocarcinomas;
  3. Diverticula complicated by inflammation;

Autoimmune diseases

  1. Intestinal damage with lupus erythematosus;
  2. Rheumatoid arthritis;
  3. Atopic dermatitis and allergic reactions;


  1. Nitrate poisoning;
  2. Heavy metals;
  3. Pesticide;

  4. Household chemicals;

Medicinal influences

  1. Antibiotics;
  2. Cytostatics;
  3. Overdose of laxatives;
  4. Anticholinesterase agents and prokinetics;

Gastrointestinal bleeding

  1. Open stomach and duodenal ulcer;
  2. Small intestinal bleeding;
  3. Colon bleeding;

Diarrhea after taking antibiotics

This is due to the fact that it is due to iatrogenic (medical) influences, which are originally designed to help a person. They are very common and can cause serious illness and even death. First of all, this concerns the side effects of antibiotic therapy, which causes dysbiosis, and subsequently pseudomembranous colitis. The peculiarity of the latter complication is that it lends itself very poorly to any correction methods, accompanied by debilitating diarrhea.

No less important are infectious diarrhea of bacterial and viral origin. They are more common than others, but fortunately, they end well in most cases. This is due to the body's ability to ultimately defeat aggressive pathogens, since they are natural components of nature. The same cannot be said about diarrhea caused by toxic effects and other external influences. They, being unnatural, cannot be overcome only by protective immune mechanisms without outside influence.

As for the mechanisms of diarrhea, they can also be different. The inclusion of a specific one depends on the cause of the diarrhea. The most typical pathogenetic mechanisms and the corresponding causes are presented in the table.

Diarrhea causes
Diarrhea causes

Usually, with diarrhea, there is not only one mechanism for its implementation. Their combination with the predominance of one over the others is characteristic.

Types of diarrhea

What is diarrhea
What is diarrhea
  • Infectious diarrhea is observed in dysentery, salmonellosis, foodborne infections, viral diseases (viral diarrhea), amebiasis, etc.
  • Alimentary diarrhea occurs with improper diet, with allergies to any foods.
  • Dyspeptic diarrhea occurs when the digestion of food masses is disturbed due to secretory insufficiency of the stomach, pancreas, liver, with a lack of excretion of any enzymes by the small intestine.
  • Toxic diarrhea accompanies uremia, mercury and arsenic poisoning.
  • Drug-induced diarrhea occurs when the physiological flora of the intestine is suppressed, the development of dysbiosis.
  • Neurogenic diarrhea is the result of a violation of the nervous regulation of the motor activity of the intestine (for example, diarrhea that occurs under the influence of excitement or fear).

Light and short-term diarrhea practically does not affect the general condition of a person. Severe or chronic - depletes the body, leads to hypovitaminosis, significant changes in the organs.

Diarrhea symptoms


The clinical manifestations of diarrhea are usually characterized by a standard set of complaints and physical examination data. For some of its species, there are specific distinguishing features by which you can accurately determine the specific nature of the disease. But it also happens that even additional laboratory and instrumental data are not always informative. In order not to miss anything, you need to be very attentive to everything that happens to the body, accompanying diarrhea.

High fever with diarrhea

It is noted by many patients as an additional symptom. Its development is typical for many types of diarrhea. First of all, this applies to its microbial (viral and bacterial) species. After all, any penetration of foreign protein structures into immune cells causes the production of antibodies, which is accompanied by the release of inflammatory mediators and a temperature reaction.

How and how to bring down the high temperature?

Given that the gut is one of the most powerful immune organs, it should come as no surprise. On the contrary, when a person has signs of an infectious bowel disease, but there is no fever, this indicates the presence of immunodeficiency. As for its specific values, they depend on the pathogenicity of the microbe and the reactivity of the organism and can range from 37.1 ° C to above 39 ° C.

Nausea and vomiting with diarrhea

Nausea is by far the most common symptom of diarrhea of any origin. There is a logical explanation for this. After all, a violation of the normal movement of food and feces through the intestines necessarily leads to their incorrect casting in the opposite direction.

In addition, intoxication, which occurs against the background of any intestinal catastrophe, necessarily leads to the absorption of these toxic products into the systemic circulation with their dispersal throughout all organs and tissues. The vomiting center of the brain is the first to react to them, which is clinically manifested in the form of nausea, followed by vomiting. By the way, the last reflex act is one of the most physiological mechanisms of cleansing the body from toxins of any origin.

Abdominal pain

It is always a consequence of increased intestinal motility. As a rule, it is spastic, strong and intense. It is characterized by a paroxysmal course with periods of sharp intensification with a gradual subsiding and complete cessation. Usually after, or during a painful attack, there is an urge to defecate, which is manifested by severe diarrhea.

The onset of pain is typical for almost all types of diarrhea, but most often occurs with its microbial types and food poisoning. All other types of it are accompanied by discomfort and a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen.

Rotten eructation with diarrhea

It occurs as a primary symptom or gradually against the background of diarrhea. In the first case, when it precedes diarrhea, its appearance speaks of enzymatic insufficiency of the pancreas, stomach and biliary system.

As a result of the fact that the food entering the body is not digested, its rotting occurs. This eventually pours out into the formation of fetid gas, which comes from the stomach by belching. Naturally, undigested particles entering the intestines cause irritation and diarrhea. When a rotten eructation occurs against the background of diarrhea, this is a consequence of secondary digestive disorders caused by the underlying disease, and indicates its progression.

Diarrhea color in an adult


  • Green color
  • Yellow
  • Black color
  • White color
  • Diarrhea with blood
  • Diarrhea with mucus
  • Diarrhea

An experienced clinician can determine the origin of diarrhea by the color and typical characteristics of liquid stool. In this case, it is imperative to add up the remaining symptoms. This will provide an opportunity to understand and clarify some of the details of the origin of the true culprit of diarrhea.

Green diarrhea

Characteristic exclusively for bacterial and viral intestinal lesions. The appearance of greenery is associated with the direct accumulation of leukocytes in the feces, as well as the active reproduction of pyogenic coccal flora (staphylococci) against the background of weakened local immune mechanisms in the intestine.

Clinically, it looks like liquid feces of an irregular consistency with small greenish blotches or densely covered and mixed with stringy green mucus. Usually, such diarrhea is accompanied by a pronounced hyperthermic reaction, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, signs of severe intoxication and inflammatory changes in the parameters of the blood system.

Read more: Green feces - what does it mean?

Yellow diarrhea

It belongs to the most favorable types of it, since it is most often caused by increased peristalsis (contraction) of the intestine. As a result of the acceleration of the movement of feces, they do not have time to fully form into a normal shape and consistency. But at the same time, they are almost complete enzymatic processing and partial absorption of active components into the bloodstream. As a result - feces of normal color, but liquid consistency. The absence of additional symptoms is characteristic, with the exception of minor cuts and heaviness in the abdomen.

Read more: Yellow stool - what does it mean?

Black diarrhea (dark in color)

Refers to very formidable or, conversely, natural symptoms. First of all, it is worth dwelling on it as a threatening sign. The appearance of black as tar or tar of feces can only indicate one thing - bleeding from the stomach. The appearance of just such a color is due to the destruction of erythrocyte hemoglobin under the action of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. At the same time, hydrochloric acid hematin is formed, which provides the characteristic color. In such situations, not a minute can be lost and urgently seek medical help.

The second situation, as a result of which black feces may appear, is the consumption of foods based on animal blood (blood), large amounts of beets, blueberries, or some medicines (activated carbon, bismuth preparations - vikalin, de-nol). It is this fact that often becomes the reason people seek medical help. The differential diagnostic criterion for the origin of black diarrhea is the presence of an appropriate history of the use of the listed substances or a decrease in hemodynamic parameters (hypotension, tachycardia) in the case of gastrointestinal bleeding.

More: Black feces - what does it mean?

White diarrhea (light colored)

Along with black feces, it is one of the most specific, characterizing only one reason for the appearance. In this case, it is insufficient processing of food masses in the intestine with bile. This is possible when the common bile duct is compressed or blocked by a tumor or stone.

In typical cases, such diarrhea is necessarily accompanied by yellow skin and severe darkening of urine. Pain syndrome, temperature reaction and dehydration are not characteristic. It is often of a non-intense character, occurring only a few times, after which the white color of the feces remains at their normal consistency.

Diarrhea with blood

The most formidable of all types of diarrhea, because it indicates ongoing active bleeding into the intestinal tract cavity. Usually characteristic of decaying tumors of the colon, severe intestinal infections, as a result of which there is a complete destruction of the mucous membrane of the intestinal wall.

Sometimes the appearance of bloody diarrhea can result from the toxic effects on the intestines of various chemical compounds and poisons. Bloody diarrhea may not be pure blood, but liquid dark cherry stools. In this case, it is safe to say that the source of bleeding is located in the right half of the large intestine.

Diarrhea with mucus

This characteristic alone cannot determine the true origin of diarrhea. After all, mucus can be completely different and released in different quantities. Its transparent appearance is a sign of a relatively favorable course, which can be caused by food poisoning and mild poisoning. When the mucus becomes greenish, brown or bloody, this always indicates a severe course of diarrhea or no effect from its treatment.

Read more: White mucus in feces: what does it mean?


In any scientific manual or regular women's health magazine, there is only one answer to the question of watery stools. It's cholera, of course. The causative agent of the disease is so arranged that when it gets into the intestine, it turns on all possible mechanisms of diarrhea, which is manifested by the indomitable release of water instead of feces. The most interesting thing is that the temperature rises very rarely. But the number of bowel movements is so great that patients are unable to count them. As a result, severe dehydration occurs, which requires immediate correction by massive infusion therapy.

Treatment of diarrhea in adults

Only those who can clearly determine its nature and mechanism of occurrence are capable of correctly and effectively treating diarrhea. The following table should help you a little to navigate these issues.

Diarrhea treatment does not need to be one-way. It is necessary to correctly combine different means, focusing on the group of drugs that affect the cause of its occurrence.

Type of diarrhea

Basic drug groups


  1. Antibiotics;
  2. Intestinal antiseptics;
  3. Slowing down peristalsis;
  4. Sorbents;
  5. Enzymes;


Replacement therapy with enzyme preparations

Bowel disease

  1. Antibiotics;
  2. Specific anti-inflammatory intestinal drugs;
  3. Glucocorticoid hormones;


  1. Antiulcer drugs;
  2. Hemostatics;
  3. Infusion;


  1. Gastric lavage and enemas;
  2. Sorbents;
  3. Motor normalizers;

Diarrhea after antibiotics

  1. Antifungal;
  2. Sorbents;
  3. Probiotics;

Related article: How to stop diarrhea at home?

Diet for diarrhea in adults

The issue of nutrition in any disease of the digestive system should be given special attention. Moreover, with diarrhea. In general terms, it is worth saying that you cannot eat coarse, fried, fatty, smoked food. Everything should be light, well absorbed and not burden the already loaded intestines. He must simultaneously rest and provide the body with the substances most necessary for life. It is imperative that the water regime be adjusted with the use of a sufficient amount of liquid in any form.

What can you eat with diarrhea?

Types of products

What can not be eaten with diarrhea?

Black with bran, yesterday's baked goods, croutons, biscuit biscuits

Bread and flour dishes

Fresh white bread, buns, pies, rolls, cookies

Diet chicken and rabbit meat, turkey, doctor's sausages

Meat products

Pork, beef, duck and other fatty meats, smoked sausage

Fermented baked milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, light yogurt

Dairy products

Whole milk, fat sour cream, cream

Lemon juice in water, blueberries, viburnum, cranberries, baked apples, potatoes

Vegetables and fruits, berries

Tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, orange, banana, plum, apricot

Buckwheat, rice, oatmeal

Cereals and cereals


Strictly prohibited

Legumes and peas

Beans, peas in any form

Dried blueberries, apples, pears, rose hips

Nuts and dried fruits

Raisins, dried apricots, all kinds of nuts

The given power supply diagram is indicative. Nutrition for diarrhea depends on the intensity of the diarrhea, the form and stage of the disease that led to its occurrence. Naturally, in the first hours and even days after the onset of the problem, it is better to abstain from nutrition altogether, with the exception of sweetened tea and various liquids. This approach will provide trophism to the affected intestinal cells and will not irritate them. Gradually, food volumes expand, introducing permitted products as the condition stabilizes.

As for the method of cooking, it should be exclusively boiled or stewed. It is best to cook hated soups, porridge, mashed potatoes, steamed cutlets and meatballs. Various jelly and jelly made from permitted fruits are well suited. With a decrease in the intensity of diarrhea, you can add half a soft-boiled egg to the diet, a little butter for filling soup or porridge. Gradually, the diet expands with the transition to a normal habitual diet.

You can not break the diet for any type of diarrhea, since it is not only preventive, but also curative. It is not necessary to drastically expand the dietary regimen at the recovery stage after the removal of the acute period of diarrhea.


The author of the article: Volkov Dmitry Sergeevich | c. m. n. surgeon, phlebologist

Education: Moscow State University of Medicine and Dentistry (1996). In 2003 he received a diploma from the Educational and Scientific Medical Center of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation.

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