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Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a condition of having at least three loose liquid bowel movements each day. Dehydration (loss of fluids) can result if diarrhea persists for a few days. Dehydration symptoms include changes in the stretchiness of the skin, dizziness, and changes in personality. In severe cases there may be decreased urination, loss of skin color, a fast heart rate, and a decrease in responsiveness.

Reasons why you may have diarrhea:

  • Eating foods that cause an upset stomach
    • Fatty foods
    • High fiber foods
    • Highly seasoned foods
    • Foods from another country may contain bacteria that causes food poisoning which often leads to diarrhea
    • Food allergies – usually gluten and dairy products
    • Fructose/Artificial sugars
  • Use to too many laxatives
  • Medications – antibiotics may cause diarrhea
  • Alcohol
  • Crohn’s or Ulcerated Colitis
  • Malabsorption
  • Diabetes – Hypertension
  • Virus

At what point should I go to the doctor for diarrhea?

  • If you’ve been dealing with diarrhea for more than 5-7 days
  • If there is blood or mucus in your stool
  • Black, tarry stools
  • If diarrhea is a recurring issue
  • If you feel diarrhea is affecting your quality of life
  • If you avoid eating before leaving the house
  • If you only leave the house when you know you will have easy access to bathrooms
  • If you feel overly fatigued
  • Fever of 102 or higher
  • Severe abdominal or rectal pain

What happens next?

Your physician will take your medical history, perform an exam and may order additional labs tests. Your physician may use drug therapy and suggest a particular diet to follow including avoiding things that may upset your stomach. If this fails, he or she may suggest a colonoscopy.