Symptoms and Signs of How to Treat Diarrhea

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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on How to Treat Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a common condition that is characterized by frequent and loose bowel movements. Diarrhea that comes on suddenly is often due to a viral infection. Diarrhea that is persistent and lasts more than four to six weeks usually is a sign of an underlying problem with the gastrointestinal tract. Some conditions that cause chronic diarrhea include irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. Other causes of diarrhea can include infections (such as salmonellosis, shigellosis, rotavirus, Norwalk virus, cholera, giardiasis, and cryptosporidiosis) food poisoning, and medication side effects.

Associated symptoms that often accompany diarrhea depend on the cause and include abdominal pain or cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, blood in the stool, bloating, feeling the need to urgently have a bowel movement, watery stool, or pus in the stool.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.