last updated 24-06-2024



In this picture, the causative factors for diarrhoea are shown. Common physiological factors include:

  1. Over-stimulation of the parasympathetic system
  2. Inhibition of the sympathetic system
  3. Presence of bacteria or viruses
  4. Over-secretion of water and electrolytes secondary to gastrointestinal irritation

These physiological effects can arise from co-morbid disease states and/or concomitant drug use. However, since the most common aetiologies are self-limiting, drug therapy is rarely indicated. In severe cases or in cases involving paediatric or elderly patients, oral rehydration therapy should be initiated.


I. Therapy that decreases GI motility is indicated in patients with diarrhoea due to Salmonella

II. Prolonged diarrhoea will lead to potassium depletion