Items in AFP with MESH term: Diarrhea
Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Article
ABSTRACT: Irritable bowel syndrome is the most common functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract and is frequently treated by family physicians. Despite patients' worries about the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, it is a benign condition. The diagnosis should be made using standard criteria after red flags that may signify organic disease have been ruled out. An effective physician-patient relationship is vital to successful management. Episodes of diarrhea are best managed with loperamide, while constipation often will respond to fiber supplements. Antispasmodics or anticholinergic agents may help relieve the abdominal pain of irritable bowel syndrome. Refractory cases are often treated with tricyclic antidepressants. Newer agents such as tegaserod and ondansetron target neurotransmitter receptors in the gastrointestinal tract Some forms of psychologic treatment may be helpful, and gastroenterology consultation is occasionally needed to reassure the patient. Comorbid conditions such as depression or anxiety should be investigated and treated.
ABSTRACT: Diagnosing a patient who presents with abdominal pain and altered bowel habits can be challenging. Although serious organic illnesses can cause these symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome is commonly responsible. It can be difficult to properly evaluate these patients without overusing diagnostic tests and consultation. A practical approach for diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome is suggested, using the Rome II criteria and the presence of alarm symptoms such as weight loss, gastrointestinal bleeding, anemia, fever, or frequent nocturnal symptoms as starting points. If there are no alarm symptoms and the Rome II criteria are not met, it is acceptable to reevaluate the patient at a later date. If there are no alarm symptoms and the Rome II criteria are met, the patient should be categorized on the basis of age: patients 50 years or younger can be evaluated on the basis of predominant symptoms--constipation, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. Patients older than 50 years should be fully evaluated and considered for gastroenterology referral. If alarm symptoms are present, a full evaluation should be performed (and gastroenterology referral considered), regardless of the patient's age.
Traveler's Diarrhea - Article
ABSTRACT: Acute diarrhea affects millions of persons who travel to developing countries each year. Food and water contaminated with fecal matter are the main sources of infection. Bacteria such as enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, enteroaggregative E. coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Shigella are common causes of traveler's diarrhea. Parasites and viruses are less common etiologies. Travel destination is the most significant risk factor for traveler's diarrhea. The efficacy of pretravel counseling and dietary precautions in reducing the incidence of diarrhea is unproven. Empiric treatment of traveler's diarrhea with antibiotics and loperamide is effective and often limits symptoms to one day. Rifaximin, a recently approved antibiotic, can be used for the treatment of traveler's diarrhea in regions where noninvasive E. coli is the predominant pathogen. In areas where invasive organisms such as Campylobacter and Shigella are common, fluoroquinolones remain the drug of choice. Azithromycin is recommended in areas with quinolone-resistant Campylobacter and for the treatment of children and pregnant women.
ABSTRACT: Clostridium difficile infection is responsible for approximately 3 million cases of diarrhea and colitis annually in the United States. The mortality rate is 1 to 2.5 percent. Early diagnosis and prompt aggressive treatment are critical in managing C. difficile-associated diarrhea. Major predisposing factors for symptomatic C. difficile colitis include antibiotic therapy; advanced age; multiple, severe underlying diseases; and a faulty immune response to C. difficile toxins. The most common confirmatory study is an enzyme immunoassay for C. difficile toxins A and B. The test is easy to perform, and results are available in two to four hours. Specificity of the assay is high (93 to 100 percent), but sensitivity ranges from 63 to 99 percent. In severe cases, flexible sigmoidoscopy can provide an immediate diagnosis. Treatment of C. difficile-associated diarrhea includes discontinuation of the precipitating antibiotic (if possible) and the administration of metronidazole or vancomycin. Preventive measures include the judicious use of antibiotics, thorough hand washing between patient contacts, use of precautions when handling an infected patient or items in the patient's immediate environment, proper disinfection of objects, education of staff members, and isolation of the patient.
Diarrhea in Adults (Acute) - Clinical Evidence Handbook
ABSTRACT: The most useful individual signs for identifying dehydration in children are prolonged capillary refill time, abnormal skin turgor, and abnormal respiratory pattern. However, clinical dehydration scales based on a combination of physical examination findings are better predictors than individual signs. Oral rehydration therapy is the preferred treatment of mild to moderate dehydration caused by diarrhea in children. Appropriate oral rehydration therapy is as effective as intravenous fluid in managing fluid and electrolyte losses and has many advantages. Goals of oral rehydration therapy are restoration of circulating blood volume, restoration of interstitial fluid volume, and maintenance of rehydration. When rehydration is achieved, a normal age-appropriate diet should be initiated.
ABSTRACT: Gastroenteritis in children is a common reason for visits to family physicians. Most cases of gastroenteritis have a viral etiology and are self-limited. However, more severe or prolonged cases of gastroenteritis can result in dehydration with significant morbidity and mortality. This is often the scenario in third-world countries, where gastroenteritis results in 3 million deaths annually. A proper clinical evaluation will allow the physician to estimate the percentage of dehydration and determine appropriate therapy. In some situations, laboratory studies such as determination of blood urea nitrogen and serum electrolytes may be helpful. Stool studies are indicated if a child is having bloody diarrhea or if an unusual etiology is suspected, such as Escherichia coli O157:H7 or Cryptosporidium. Most children with gastroenteritis can be treated with physiologically balanced oral rehydration solutions. In children who are hypovolemic, lethargic and estimated to be more than 5 percent dehydrated, initial treatment with intravenous boluses of isotonic saline or Ringer's lactate may be required. Children with severe diarrhea need nutrition to restore digestive function and, generally, food should not be withheld.
ABSTRACT: Common pathogens in traveler's diarrhea include enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, Campylobacter, Shigella, Salmonella, Yersinia and many other species. Viruses and protozoa are the cause in many cases. Fortunately, traveler's diarrhea can usually be avoided by carefully selecting foods and beverages. Although drug prophylaxis is now discouraged, treatment with loperamide (in the absence of dysentery) and a fluoroquinolone, such as ciprofloxacin (500 mg twice daily for one to three days), is usually safe and effective in adults with traveler's diarrhea. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and doxycycline are alternatives, but resistance increasingly limits their usefulness. Antibiotic treatment is best reserved for cases that fail to quickly respond to loperamide. Antibiotic resistance is now widespread. Nonabsorbable antibiotics, immunoprophylaxis with vaccines and biotherapeutic microbes that inhibit pathogen infection may eventually supplant antibiotic treatment. In the meantime, azithromycin and new fluoroquinolones show promise as possible replacements for the older agents. Ultimately, the best solution is improvements in sanitary engineering and the development of safe water supplies.