Diarrhea Q & A
What do I need to know about diarrhea?
Diarrhea refers to bowel movements that are loose and watery and occur three or more times in one day. Diarrhea is common and usually resolves on its own within a few days.
Other symptoms you may experience with diarrhea include:
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody stools
- Bloating or nausea
- Urgent need to go
If your diarrhea doesn't resolve on its own, it may indicate something more is going on. Diarrhea that lasts longer than four weeks is considered chronic diarrhea.
Diarrhea, whether acute or chronic, can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. To replenish lost fluids, you should do your best to stay hydrated with water, broth, or sports drinks when you're experiencing loose, watery bowel movements.
When should I see a doctor for my diarrhea?
If your diarrhea doesn't resolve on its own within a few days you should contact the team at Capitol Gastro for an appointment. In addition to increasing your risk of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, ongoing diarrhea may indicate a more serious underlying health issue.
Your medical specialist at Capitol Gastro conducts a comprehensive examination to determine the underlying cause of your diarrhea. In addition to reviewing your symptoms and medical history, your specialist may also perform special testing such as:
- Blood test
- Stool test
- Colonoscopy or endoscopy
Identifying the underlying cause of your diarrhea helps your specialist develop the most effective treatment plan to resolve your symptoms.
What are common causes of diarrhea?
You can develop diarrhea from many causes. Some of the most common include:
- Bacterial, parasitic, or viral infection
- Artificial sweeteners
- Intolerance to fructose or lactose
Certain gastrointestinal conditions also cause diarrhea, such as Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and celiac disease.
What treatments can improve my loose bowel movements?
Your specialist at Capitol Gastro develops a personalized treatment plan for your diarrhea based on the underlying cause. Treatment may include:
- Disease-specific medication
- Diet modification
Your specialist may also make recommendations to help you maintain hydration.
Diarrhea is common, but if your loose stools are affecting your day-to-day activities, the experienced team at Capitol Gastro can determine the underlying cause and provide the most effective treatment. Call today.