A diarrheal stool is an obvious symptom of some disturbance in the functions of the organism. How serious or significant the diarrhea may be usually depends on a number of attending circumstances. One can easily postulate a variety of conditions, each of which might lead to a copious or abnormal evacuation of the bowel, yet be of quite unlike moment to the organism in which they occur. A nervous reaction may thus lead to an accelerated peristalsis and result in an increased defecation without further import; the presence of toxic micro-organisms in the intestine may provoke undue secretion followed by abundant evacuations and loss of body constituents which would ordinarily be retained or reabsorbed; abnormal digestive functions with attendant putrefaction and fermentation may produce a diarrhea with the enforced loss of what would be nutrient products under normal alimentary conditions.
It seems almost unbelievable that so little is known respecting
THE COMPOSITION OF DIARRHEAL STOOLS. JAMA. 1915;LXIV(24):1992. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02570500040019
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