We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Secretory Diarrhea?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Secretory diarrhea is a form of loose stool characterized by high levels of electrolytes and fluid in the diarrhea, even when the patient is fasting or foregoing water. It can be very dangerous for patients, as electrolyte balances in the body will be disturbed if the patient loses electrolytes and fluids faster than they can be replaced. For this reason, people who are having diarrhea are usually provided with supportive therapy like electrolyte supplements and lots of fluids to make up for what the body is losing.

In secretory diarrhea, electrolytes and fluids are secreted into the intestinal lumen and expressed from the body. This condition can also be characterized by a failure to absorb water and electrolytes from food. When the body doesn't absorb these materials, they pass freely through the bowel. The patient can develop imbalances of salts in the body and become even sicker.

Cholera is a leading cause of secretory diarrhea. The debilitating diarrhea associated with cholera can be deadly if a patient is not provided with adequate supportive therapy to stabilize electrolyte levels while receiving treatment for the infectious bacteria causing the disease. Certain medications have also been linked with secretory diarrhea, as have laxatives, toxins, and some types of tumors.

Mild diarrhea can be treated at home. The patient usually benefits from rest and regular hydration with broths, teas, juice, and other fluids. This can keep the patient's body in balance until the diarrhea resolves. If diarrhea persists, it may not be possible to support a patient at home. Intravenous fluids and other treatments may be needed, along with medications to slow or stop the diarrhea before the patient develops additional complications. In a hospital setting, a doctor can evaluate the patient, take a sample to look for causative organisms, and prescribe immediate treatments to stabilize the patient.

In regions where secretory diarrhea is common, usually as a result of chronic cholera, people may be advised to take steps to avoid infection, such as boiling water before drinking, and they can also be given salt tablets. These tablets are added to fluids given to people with diarrhea to replace lost electrolytes and can be a valuable first line of defense against diarrhea-related mortality in areas where people may not have ready access to medical care. These tablets are generally low cost and may be made available for free by government agencies or nongovernmental organizations working in the region.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.