Cholera- Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

Cholera- Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

Cholera- Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

Cholera is a bacterial disease in which dehydration occurs due to severe diarrhea. It usually spreads through contaminated water. If left untreated, cholera can be fatal in a few hours. Nowadays, in many countries, there is no cholera because of efficient sewerage systems. But in developing countries, it still does exist. Therefore you must take extra care if you are traveling to any. 

The treatment of cholera is so simple. The healthcare providers keep replenishing your electrolytes and fluid that you lose through watery diarrhea. They may also prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria. If you have a complaint of recurrent diarrhea, you should visit an Internal Medicine Specialist in Lahore.

What are the Symptoms of Cholera?

Cholera may not show the signs and symptoms readily as you get infected. Moreover, it may be difficult to differentiate between diarrhea and cholera. The symptoms of cholera are;


Diarrhea associated with cholera is severe. It resembles rice water and has a milky appearance. You may lose a lot of fluid and electrolytes in it. Losing too much fluid can become life-threatening for you. Therefore, it should be treated as soon as possible. 

Nausea and vomiting

Along with diarrhea, cholera may also cause you to lose fluids through vomiting. It can make the condition worse for you. 


Severe diarrhea and vomiting due to cholera lead to dehydration, a life-threatening condition. If you treat it as soon as diarrhea starts, you can prevent dehydration. But if left untreated, it can lead to various other problems. The signs and symptoms of dehydration are;

  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme thirst dry 
  • Shriveled skin 
  • Little or no urinating
  • Low blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness 
  • Nausea

Dehydration can, in turn, lead to muscle cramps and shock- a condition in which blood supply to your organs is disrupted. 

What are the Causes for Cholera?

Cholera occurs due to the infection of a bacteria called Vibrio cholera. It may be possible that you are infected with vibrio cholera, and you do not have any symptoms. But at this state too, you can pass it to others. The main source of bacterium is contaminated water. It can be found in;

  • Contaminated public wells
  • Eating raw or uncooked seafood that comes from contaminated water.
  • Eating raw fruits and vegetables that are grown in water contaminated with vibrio cholera.
  • Rice and millet that are grown in contaminated water or when they are kept at room temperature for several hours where bacteria can grow.

What are the Risk Factors for Cholera?

Everyone is at risk of cholera except the newborns who have got immunity from their mothers who previously have had cholera. Factors that can put you at risk of getting cholera are;

  • People living in places with poor sanitary conditions such as refugee camps, an area affected by famine, natural disasters such as earthquakes or war. 
  • People who take drugs that alter the pH of the stomach. It happens because the acidic pH of your gastric fluid plays a role in preventing bacterial growth. When you take antacids, H2 receptor blocker or proton pump inhibitors, the gastric pH may not remain that acidic, which can lead to bacterial growth. 
  • Remaining in exposure with the person having cholera. 


Cholera, if left untreated, can lead to complications, such as;

  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Low potassium levels 
  • Kidney failure



Cholera is a bacterial disease that needs to be treated as soon as possible. If left untreated, it can lead to life-threatening complications. If you have cholera, you should visit an Internal Medicine Specialist in Karachi.