When it comes to diarrhea types it really is a case of let me count the ways. If you want to get technical, then they normally fall into one of four categories - osmotic, secretory, motility-related diarrhea or inflammatory diarrhea
Most folk simply consider them under the various causes of diarrhea. The more common diarrhea types are caused by bacterial infections, viral infections, parasitic infections, or autoimmune problems such as inflammatory bowel disease and fall into the inflammatory category.
With this type of diarrhea there is damage to the surface of the intestinal lining. This means that protein rich fluids are lost whilst at the same time the sufferer has a decreased ability to absorb those lost fluids.
With all types of diarrhea, assume that it is infectious until proven otherwise. You'll be right more often than you're wrong.
Find out who is most at risk of being struck down with travelers diarrhea.
There are a few things you can do before you head off on that trip of a lifetime. Saccharomyces boulardii is the best known probiotic for travelers diarrhea. Saccharomyces boulardii is not some concoction brewed up in a science lab. Oh no - this yeast was a popular "folk medicine" for diarrhea long before the multi-nationals found it.
When traveling, always remember - peel it, boil it, cook it, or forget it! Washing food is not effective (unless unless you wash them in bottled water) because many of these pesky travel bugs are transmitted through water. Here are the brand names of one or two probiotic products for travelers diarrhea.
Sometimes it seems as if the two go hand in hand. You take antibiotics; diarrhea strikes a week later. Saccharomyces boulardii shows up once again in the results as being useful against antibiotic associated diarrhea. A few other probiotics look useful and even the Mayo Clinic agrees that it is a good idea to eat live yogurt whilst taking antibiotics. As if you need a reason!
With the increase of a new and particularly nasty strain of C diff this is one type of AAD you definately don't want.
Some people take probiotic supplements because they are lactose intolerant but the two classic starters in yogurt will help with symptoms just as well, if not better. This is one of the rare cases when it is not important what strain is used - it seems that any strain of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus helps with lactose intolerance.
There has been few studies done on this. This study on S boulardii was the most promising, indicating that S boulardii was of some benefit.
With mild diarrhea, simply waiting it out is sufficient. Keep up fluids. If it is a little more severe then lost fluids and salts will need to be replaced.
Loperamide (Imodium) and bismuth subsalicylate Pepto Bismol and Kaopectate are available in most countries without a prescription and are all standard medicines for all diarrhea types.1
1. Schiller LR (2007). Management of diarrhea in clinical practice: strategies for primary care physicians. Rev Gastroenterol Disord 7 Suppl 3: S27-38. PMID 18192963.