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Viral infections cause most cases of diarrhea and are typically
associated with mild-to-moderate symptoms with frequent, watery bowel movements, abdominal cramps, and
a low-grade fever.
Viral diarrhea generally lasts
approximately 3 to 7 days.
The following are the common causes of diarrhea caused by viral infections:
Bacterial infections cause the more serious cases of diarrhea. Typically, infection with bacteria occurs from contaminated food or drinks (food poisoning). Bacterial infections also cause severe symptoms, often with vomiting,
fever, and severe abdominal cramps or
abdominal pain. Bowel movements occur frequently and may be watery.
The following are examples of diarrhea caused by bacterial
Reaction to certain medications can cause diarrhea. Common medications include
antibiotics, blood pressure medications, cancer drugs,
gout medications, weight loss drugs, and antacids
(especially those containing magnesium).
Intolerance to foods such as artificial sweeteners and lactose (the sugar found in milk) can cause diarrhea.
Bhupinder Anand, MD
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