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Diarrhea is characterized by loose frequent, watery stools often with an urgent feeling of needing a bowel movement. While occasional diarrhea is normal, severe or persistent cases might indicate an underlying health issue.


In addition to loose stools, diarrhea can come with other symptoms, including:

  • Abdominal bloating/distention
  • Abdominal cramps/pain
  • Fever
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Unintended weight loss

Diarrhea can result from various health conditions, often related to the digestive system. Some common causes include:

  • Food allergies, intolerances, or celiac disease
  • Food poisoning/gastroenteritis
  • Certain prescription or over-the-counter medications
  • Metabolic conditions such as diabetes and thyroid dysfunction among others
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
  • Microscopic colitis

For mild cases lasting a day or two, over-the-counter antidiarrheal medication, staying hydrated with electrolyte-rich fluids, and getting rest often suffices.

If diarrhea lasts more than a couple of days, is severe, recurrent, or is accompanied by fever, bleeding, severe pain, or signs of dehydration, it's essential to seek medical attention promptly.

While most cases resolve on their own, certain signs indicate a need for medical care. Consult a doctor if you experience:

  • Signs of dehydration like excessive thirst, dry mouth, dark or limited urination, and severe fatigue
  • Black or bloody stools
  • A fever of 102 degrees or higher
  • Pain near the rectum or anus, or intense abdominal pain
  • Recent travel to a foreign country

Diarrhea is a common reason patients visit gastroenterologists. We'll begin by understanding your history to determine potential causes. Depending on our assessment we may initiate immediate treatment or recommend tests like blood, stool, imaging, or endoscopic studies. Based on our findings, we'll provide targeted treatment options and work with you until the issue is resolved. The good news is that most cases of diarrhea can be successfully treated.