RUNNING STOMACH (DIARRHOEA): A NOT UNCOMMON AFTERMATH OF OCCASIONS AND FESTIVALSOccasion and festivity seem connotative; but they are not synonymous. Though, they both involve people coming together to celebrate, the difference can be observed in the scale: Festival brings a larger diversity of people together under themes like culture, religion; while for occasion, the diversity is of a lower scale as it connotes a special event or function that brings family, friends, business associates or colleagues together. Aside the difference in demographic and social diversity scale, geographic scale for festival is larger as it sometimes span across continents while occasion is more localised.

The point of intersection between both terms; though of different scale is the camaraderie – The spirit. The jive. The fun. The day designated for festivals and occassions are holidays either by default or custom because coming together; the togetherness is given a higher priority. Hence, time is carved out in the spirit of what the occasion or festival is about.

Occasions and festivals are also marked by uncensored buffet: Large quantity of food and drink; which sometimes come free; hence the tendency to indulge oneself without the constraint of discipline. It is an opportunity for some to cast aside restraint, gorge themselves out without or with little caution and go wild for a time. Diarrhoea and related ailments crop up in the wake of occasions and festivals.

According to World Health Organization, running stomach; medically termed “diarrhoea” means having three or more loose/watery stools per day or passing more stools than is normal for an individual. In most cases, diarrhoea lasts for a few days at most and can be overcome with little or no treatment. Running stomach/diarrhoea can lead to such severe fluid and salt loss that it can be life threatening though.

The process of digestion, absorption and stool formation takes place between 12 to 72 hours: The food that we eat is the basis for the stool that we pass out – Food is digested, nutrients absorbed and the waste is expelled. The entire process is facilitated by the movement of food; and later waste through the gut by waves of motion in the gut wall. In the small intestine, water is pumped into the gut to help with digestion.

By the time digestion and absorption of nutrients has occurred, the remaining watery material reaches the large intestine. Here the water is reabsorbed into the body changing the liquid into a semi-solid mush and then a firmer solid stool. In diarrhea however, there is excessive water pumped into the gut, inadequate reabsorption of water from the waste or faster than normal movement of material in the gut (peristalsis).

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It may be a result of microbes like bacteria irritating the gut wall, anxiety and psychological stress, diseases of the gut wall or something that a person ate or drank.

Signs and symptoms may include:
• frequent loose, watery or liquid stools,
• urgent need to pass stool (urging),
• nausea with/without vomiting,
• abdominal cramps or pain,
• headache,
• dehydration; which may be observed as excessive thirst, dry mouth, dry skin and small quantities of dark yellow, concentrated urine,
• stomach distention (abdominal bloating),
• belching,
• sometimes bringing up bitter or foul-tasting fluid or food,
• farting,
• bad-smelling or sour breath,
• weakness and fatigue.

Treatment at home without any specific medicine is usually effective in controlling mild to moderate diarrhoea within two or three days. The main aim of treatment is to replace lost fluid and electrolytes to prevent development of dehydration. Plenty of fluids should be taken by mouth; but alcohol, caffeine and dairy products should be avoided. Oral rehydration solutions (ORS) are helpful; especially in case of young children. If diarrhoea persists for more than three days or if there are any signs of dehydration or other symptoms, medical treatment should be sought.

Christmas and new year is just around the bend. Ówàńbẹ̀ is perpetually in season: Party jollof, rice and beans very plenty, a timeout to unwind inside bottle with chummies: Olingo. While enjoying festivities, occassions and all it affords, it should be well remembered that diarrhoea can completely throw off one’s day, keep one tied to the toilet and limit foods and drinks one can enjoy.

Moderation is key in everything and it is a feat unachievable without (self) control and discipline. It is necessary to be cautious while taking liberties with food from unknown sources. It is also necessary to stay within limit while taking a dive into the bottle: One does not have to go in deep. Great fun is achievable by just sitting and hanging out around the edge of the bottle. Runny stomach, hangover and the likes will not be an aftermath of celebrations if one flex with caution.

Thank you for reading.

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