Acute diarrhea is an unpleasant digestive disorder that nearly everyone experiences at one time or another. In fact, it’s estimated that most Americans can expect to have diarrhea about four times every year.
The loose-stool consistency that characterizes diarrhea usually lasts a few days at most. Diarrhea often means more-frequent trips to the toilet and a greater volume of stool. Some common causes of loose, watery stools and abdominal cramps are infections from viruses, bacteria or parasites. Other causes include medications — particularly antibiotics — and artificial sweeteners.
Chronic diarrhea lasts much longer than does acute diarrhea, generally longer than four weeks. It can be a sign of a serious disorder, such as inflammatory bowel disease, or it may be due to a less serious condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Chronic or recurrent diarrhea may signal poor absorption of nutrients (malabsorption).
Diarrhea may cause a loss of significant amounts of water and salts. Most cases of diarrhea clear on their own without treatment. But if diarrhea persists, you become dehydrated or you pass blood in your stool, see your doctor.
Signs and symptoms associated with diarrhea may include:
- Frequent, loose, watery stools
- Abdominal cramps Continue reading About Diarrhea