These frequent, loose and watery bowel movements occur as a result of infection or other gastrointestinal issues. Acute, mild, infectious diarrhea can typically be treated by consuming plenty of fluids and by taking over-the-counter medicine. If diarrhea persists for more than a few days, however, it can be a sign of a more serious medical issue. Prolonged diarrhea also puts patients at risk for dehydration, which can negatively impact overall health. If you notice signs of prolonged diarrhea or have any questions pertaining to your symptoms, contact Dr. Ahmed for a consultation.
Causes of Diarrhea Include:
Inflammatory Bowel disease
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Bacterial infections, such as Salmonella or e.coli
Viral infections such as Norovirus
Food allergies or sensitivies
Symptoms of diarrhea range from mild to severe. If you experience symptoms for more than a couple of days, or if symptoms are severe, you should contact Dr. Ahmed, as it may be the sign of a more pressing illness. The following are symptoms associated with diarrhea:
Thin or loose stool
Abdominal bloating or cramps
Frequent and uncontrollable bowel movements
Nausea and vomiting
Pain when producing stool
Blood or mucus in your stool
Acute, mild, infectious diarrhea can usually be treated at home. As dehydration is a major cause for concern when one has diarrhea, be sure to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Drinking at least 6 glasses of water a day is beneficial when one has diarrhea. To help with discomfort, take over the counter medications such as Pepto-Bismol or Imodium A-D, available in tablets or liquids.
During an episode of acute diarrhea, avoid foods containing lactose, foods high in fiber, alcohol, caffeine, and greasy or spicy foods. When your symptoms lessen, stick with bland, white foods like bananas, rice, crackers, and skinless chicken until you feel fully back to normal.
If the diarrhea is severe or chronic, GI evaluation is indicated.
If diarrhea persists or is severe, contact Dr.Ahmed for evaluation. Testing may include bloodwork, stool samples, imaging studies, and colonoscopy. Sometimes an upper endoscopy is also performed to evaluate for abnormalities in the small bowel, including Celiac Disease.