Rice water stools?

In this brief guide, we will shed light on “rice-water stools?”. We will also elaborate on the cause of rice-water stools, the transmission of cholera and how to cure the disease. 

What are rice water stools?

Rice water stools are watery with bits of mucus which looks like water in which rice has been rinsed. Rice water stools are characteristic of severe cholera.

In adults, the quantity of stool can go as high as 1 litre per hour in the most critical cases. While in children, the quantity of stool in extreme cholera is generally between 10 to 20 cc/kg/hour.

Additionally, in comparison with other causes of childhood diarrhoea, stool from cholera patients has a more increased content of sodium, along with substantial quantities of potassium and bicarbonate 

For those treated with proper rehydration, diarrhoea is most critical during the initial two days and ends after 4-6 days. The total volume loss during the period of infection may be up to 100 percent of body mass.

What is Cholera?

Cholera is acute secretory diarrhoea induced by toxin-producing bacteria, Vibrio cholerae bacteria. 

Severe cholera is marked by extreme loss of fluids and electrolytes in the stool and the immediate onset of hypovolemic shock, usually in 24 hrs from the start of vomiting and diarrhoea. 

The infection is usually mild with no symptoms, but can oftentimes be severe and can even be fatal.

Taking proper rehydration therapy lowers the death rate of severe cholera from above 10 per cent to less than 0.5 per cent.

What are the symptoms of Cholera 

The symptoms of cholera are characterised by:

  • Rapid occurrence of rice water stools 
  • Dehydration, characterised by a dry mouth, hollow eyes, and rapid heart rate
  • Abdominal pain with cramps, nausea, and/or vomiting
  • Extreme thirst
  • Drowsiness
  • Reduced urine output
  • In infants, sunken soft spots in the head

In severe cases, patients with cholera can have extreme dehydration, which can result in kidney failure. If not treated, it can result in shock, coma, and death within hours.

How is cholera transmitted?

Cholera is most commonly transmitted by water sources polluted with Vibrio cholerae, though infected foodstuffs, particularly raw shellfish, might also transmit the Vibrio cholerae.

In addition, raw, unskinned fruits and vegetables are also a frequent source of cholera in places where there is cholera. 

In developing countries, manure fertilisers that are not composted or irrigation systems contaminated with raw sewage can infect plants in the area.

Similarly, in areas where cholera is prevalent, grains including rice that are infected after cooking and stored at room temperature for many hours can grow Vibrio cholerae.

What is the incubation period of cholera

The incubation period of cholera may range from nearly 6-12 hours to 5 days, with the average incubation period being almost 2-3 days.

What is the best treatment for rice-water stools?

The best treatment for rice-water stools is fluid and electrolyte replacement, both oral and intravenous. Antibiotics usually are given in severe cases with dehydration.

Your healthcare provider may prescribe an antibiotic to decrease the course of symptoms. He may also demand a sample of your stool to examine it for the existence of cells and Vibrio cholera

The results of these examinations may describe your doctor’s preference for antibiotics. 

An oral vaccine has been found to deliver temporary defence during flare-ups, though consuming hygienic food and water are the most promising preventions.

How to prevent cholera?

Cholera can be prevented if you:

  • Clean your hands with soap and water repeatedly, particularly after using the washroom and prior to handling food. Rub your hands together for a minimum of 15 secs prior to rinsing. If you have no soap and water, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Sip only safe filtered water or water you have boiled or disinfected yourself. Use treated water even to clean your teeth.
  • Hot drinks are typically safe, just like canned or bottled drinks, but make sure to wipe the exterior surface before you unseal them.
  • Do not use ice in your beverages unless you iced it yourself with hygienic water.
  • Have food that is thoroughly cooked and hot.
  • Do not eat food from street sellers, if practicable. If you do purchase a meal from a street seller, be sure it is cooked in front of your eyes and served hot.
  • Do not eat sushi, raw or undercooked fish or seafood of any type.
  • Have fruits and vegetables whose skin you can remove yourself, that include bananas, oranges and avocados. Do not eat salads and fruits that can not be skinned, like grapes and strawberries.

Other FAQs about Rice Water that you may be interested in.

Can I leave rice water in my hair?


In this brief guide, we have shed light on “rice-water stools?”. We have also elaborated on the cause of rice-water stools, the transmission of cholera and how to cure the disease.