Diarrhea is a very common problem. This condition happens when you have watery and loose bowel movements. It could present alone or could be associated with other conditions. Luckily, diarrhea can go away on its own after a few days.
Diarrhea happens for a variety of reasons. Usually, diarrhea is short-lived but when it lasts beyond a few days, it could indicate a more severe problem such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, persistent infection, or celiac disease.
Diarrhea could be acute, persistent, or chronic. Acute diarrhea typically lasts 1 or 2 days and can go away on its own. Persistent diarrhea lasts longer than 2 weeks but less than 4 weeks. And chronic diarrhea lasts at least 4 weeks.
The main symptom of diarrhea is the passing of loose, watery bowel movements three or more times a day. Other symptoms may include:
- Urgent need to use the bathroom
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of control of bowel movement
There are a variety of diseases and conditions that causes diarrhea, and the most common causes can include:
- Bacteria from contaminated water and food
- Diseases that affect the stomach, small intestine, and colon
- Parasites found in contaminated water and food
- Food intolerance and allergies
- Poor absorption of food
- Radiation therapy
If your case is mild, you might not need any medications. Or you can buy over-the-counter medication such as bismuth subsalicylate, to help you feel better quickly. However, over-the-counter medication may not always be the solution especially if you have diarrhea caused by an infection or parasite. See your healthcare provider if you have a fever or blood in your stool.
If you have diarrhea that lasts for several weeks, your healthcare provider will treat the main cause of your diarrhea. Treatment options can include:
- Medication for a specific condition
Diarrhea can cause dehydration which can be life-threatening if left untreated. Especially in children, dehydration can be very dangerous. If you have signs of serious dehydration, seek medical help immediately.
Washing your hands can prevent the spread of infectious diarrhea. You should also watch what you eat and drink, especially when you are traveling. There is also a vaccine available for viral diarrhea, which commonly affects children. Most importantly, always keep hydrated.
Diarrhea is extremely common, but it can also be dangerous. In extreme cases of diarrhea, you can be severely dehydrated. Keep track of your symptoms and if you have diarrhea that doesn’t resolve on its own, call your healthcare provider immediately.
For urgent medical emergencies, you can visit Doral Health and Wellness Urgent Care. We provide urgent and comprehensive care for most health problems. For more info, visit us at https://doraluc.org/ or call us at 1-347-384-5690.