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Diarrhea is extremely common, with the majority of people suffering from it at least once a year on average. If you have diarrhea, you will notice that your feces are loose and watery. Occasionally, the cause is unknown and the illness resolves on its own after a few days. Bacteria could be the cause of diarrhea. Diarrhea causes dehydration, which is a potentially fatal side effect.

Acute diarrhea is distinguished from chronic diarrhea by the fact that it comes abruptly. Acute diarrhea is defined as diarrhea that lasts one to two days. Diarrhea may be caused by a variety of factors, including a viral or bacterial infection. Food poisoning may potentially be the cause of the issue in certain cases. In young children, chronic diarrhea manifests as toddler’s diarrhea characterized by more than 3 watery stools per day.

Travelers’ diarrhea is a medical ailment that occurs because of visiting a poor country on vacation and coming into contact with germs or parasites. Baby diarrhea if persists for more than 24 hours, then there is a need to consult a doctor.

Diarrhea that lasts for more than four weeks on a continuous basis is referred to as chronic diarrhea, it may also be excruciatingly painful. Similarly, explosive diarrhea which is characterized by forceful diarrhea and passing of liquid stool is also painful.

Diarrhea may be hazardous to some groups of individuals including:

  • Children under the age of five
  • Adults above the age of 65
  • Those who are afflicted by medical conditions

Each of these individuals may face further health issues in the future because of their digestive issues.

Diarrhea may manifest itself in a variety of ways, depending on the underlying reason and severity of the issue.

If the bowel motions are frequent and watery, the diarrhea is most likely secretory. There are no apparent signs of inflammation, pain, or discomfort.

Diarrhea treatment is based on replenishing the fluid and salt balance. To stop diarrhea, a BRAT diet based on bananas, rice, apples and toast is considered effective.


A virus infection of the gastrointestinal system is one of the most common causes of diarrhea, which is also known as viral gastroenteritis.

Diarrhea may be caused by a variety of medical problems related to food sensitivity.  It may manifest itself in a variety of ways including the:

  • Inability to digest lactose
  • Food allergy
  • Negative response to a prescribed medication

The following are some other reasons of diarrhea that may occur:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Medications
  • The meal has not been digested correctly or there is poor absorption

Keto diet may also cause diarrhea. Keto diarrhea is almost certainly a long-term adverse effect of the ketogenic diet. When undigested fat enters the small intestine and colon, more water is drawn in to help with fat transit, resulting in watery diarrhea.

Individuals having irregular bowel movements may experience diarrhea after eating. Postprandial diarrhea is a medical term that refers to diarrhea that occurs after a meal has been consumed. Urinary incontinence is common with this kind of diarrhea. Eating green food may cause green diarrhea.

Parasites also cause diarrhea. Giardiasis is a parasitic infection that produces yellow diarrhea. Yellow or light colored stools may be produced by a decrease in the production of bile salts, in part because the color of a typical brown stool is obtained via the breakdown of bile.

Diarrhea is also a common digestive problem during pregnancy. Moreover, it is also common to have diarrhea in early pregnancy. The cause for diarrhea in pregnancy is the hormonal changes in the body. If it is not treated properly, it may lead to severe complications.


Diarrhea could be the initial symptom seen in some COVID-19 patients. This is because diarrhea is the body’s method of rapidly eliminating viruses, germs, and poisons from the digestive system.

Diarrhea symptoms  (loose, watery stools) may include:

  • Cramps or pain in the abdomen
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Blood in the feces
  • Mucus in the feces
  • Bowel movement


Your doctor will ask about your medical history, check your medications, perform a physical exam, and may prescribe tests to establish what’s causing your diarrhea. Among the possible tests for diarrhea diagnosis are:

  • Blood test: A complete blood count, electrolyte measurement, and kidney function tests can assist in determining the severity of your diarrhea. 
  • Stool examination. Your doctor may recommend a stool test to determine whether a bacterium or a parasite causes diarrhea. 
  • Test for hydrogen breath. This test can help you identify if you are lactose intolerant. After drinking a lactose-containing liquid, your breath is tested for hydrogen regularly. Excessive hydrogen expulsion implies that you are not adequately digesting and absorbing lactose.

When To See A Doctor

Although diarrhea is usually not hazardous, it may be deadly or signal the existence of a more serious problem. If you have any of the following concerns, you should consult with your doctor.

  • Dehydration signs and symptoms
  • Acute stomach or rectum pain
  • Fever and vomiting
  • Bloody or pustular stools
  • Stools with a black and viscous appearance

If you are above the age of 18, you should not have diarrhea for 3 days. If the issue continues for more than 24 hours and you have constant diarrhea, you should visit a doctor. If diarrhea lasts for a week, it means that there is some serious illness like celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease. Hence, it is crucial to consult the physician at early stages.


This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have concerns about diarrhea or any other medical condition, please see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment suggestions.