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Causes of Diarrhea
Although condition of diarrhea is taken lightly by most people, it is a dangerous ailment that can cause death. This ailment is one of the most common causes of infant death in developing countries. Mortality of children is associated with diarrhea in a significant number of cases in developing nation. Poor hygiene practices are the major cause of the ailment (Bostoen et al., 2008). Other factors may cause diarrhea to a less severe extent.
Some species of bacteria are responsible for some of the most severe forms of diarrhea. Vibrio cholerae, a bacterium that thrives in water, causes severe diarrhea that may kill an infant within hours of the onset of the symptoms. A victim of diarrhea suffers loss of water in the body and eventually succumbs to dehydration. Several measures can be undertaken to prevent occurrence of diarrhea and even control the cases that arise (Bostoen et al., 2008).
A study of over thirty three thousand children revealed that fecal contamination is the leading cause of diarrhea in developing nations. Improper disposal of excreta and lack of necessary disposal facilities are the major factors affecting contamination of water. In some cases, the latrine being used for disposal of excreta was inappropriate or open.
This caused as much harm as open disposal of excreta (Bostoen et al., 2008). An improvement of the method of disposal of excreta was shown to improve the incidence of diarrhea by thirty percent. Although these studies involved observation of trends, they gave a clear indication that proper disposal of human excreta was an effective way to control the rate of occurrence of diarrhea in developing nations.
Once the human excreta are disposed off in an inappropriate manner, there are various ways in which the bacteria contained in it are transmitted to another human individual. Waste may contaminate water, which is then ingested later by an individual. One may come into contact with the excreta and ingest the bacteria during eating or drinking.
When one comes into contact with a person who has contaminated hands through shaking of hands, the bacteria may be passed on. There is only one apparent point of entry of the bacteria into the human body. This is through the oral cavity (Bostoen et al., 2008). After ingestion of the bacteria, it may be passed out in excreta again after multiplication in the gut. If the human waste is disposed off in an inappropriate manner, it may continue to pose a danger of passing on the bacteria to another individual.
The age of the individual exposed to risk is also a significant factor in determining whether diarrhea may occur in the individual. Young people tend to suffer diarrhea more often (Bostoen et al., 2008). Although some organisms can be directly related to diarrhea, it is not possible to know the real cause of the bowel behavior consistent with persistent diarrhea.
Use of Probiotics
Probiotics can be used to treat cases of diarrhea in order to minimize the effects of the bacteria causing the conditions. Probiotics consists of other organisms whose metabolic processes are of benefit to individual experiencing diarrhea (Aponte, 2010). A study in2006 shows that the use of probiotics reduced the effects of the bacteria by controlling the movement of the bowel to a manageable level.
There may be variation in children’s response to the administration of probiotics (Aponte, 2010). Studies have not established the general patterns of the response to the use of probiotics. This is attributed to the fact that these substances are only used in developed nations where close monitoring is readily available.
Thus, it is possible that children in different conditions in developing countries have a different response. However, it is possible to predict that the variation in response will be minimal across the globe. The micro organisms present in probiotics introduce a state of balance in the gut such that the effect of the bacteria that causes diarrhea is moderated. In addition, the effects of bowel inflammation are reduced where the infection has caused a significant level of inflammation (Aponte, 2010).
Effectiveness of Probiotics
Probiotics do not act directly on the diarrhea-causing bacteria. However, the competitive environment they create in the bowel of a person suffering diarrhea makes the pre-existing bacteria to minimize multiplication activities (Aponte, 2010). The mucosa of the gullet is preserved by the use of these substances.
Their action seems to work against most strains of bacteria that cause diarrhea. Moreover, they can be used for treatment of both acute and persistent diarrhea. For more effective action, it is necessary to administer the probiotics early enough for some strains of bacteria (Aponte, 2010). The duration for which the diarrhea lasts can be reduced by more than a week. This reduces the possibility of development of a persistent diarrhea in some cases.
The establishment of improper disposal of human excreta as a major cause of diarrhea is a conclusion of many independent studies. The effects of this problem are evident in developing nations. Probiotics have been found to be effective by studies covering developing nations. However, it is assumed that there is consistency across the globe. Research presented shows that the measures employed to control diarrhea proved effective and resulted to a global improvement of health.
Aponte, B. (2010). Probiotics for treating persistent diarrhoea in children. Chocrane Collaboration, 6(1), 2-32.
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Bostoen, C., Boisson, S., & Jenkins, F. (2008). Interventions to improve disposal of human excreta for preventing diarrhoea. Chocrane Cholaboration, 5(1), 6-65.