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What is diarrhea?

Diarrhea is passing out of loose, unformed or watery stool that occurs more frequently than normal. This may be accompanied by abdominal pain of the colicky type, feeling of being bloated, incontinence, anal pain, fever or chills.

What causes diarrhea?

• Diarrhea most often is viral in nature, and usually resolves after a few days.

• Bacterial diarrhea, such as food poisoning, may be accompanied by rectal bleeding.

• Some antibiotics may cause diarrhea.

• Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or diverticulitis.

• Lactose intolerance.

Below are things to watch out for during an episode of diarrhea:

High fever.

Severe abdominal pain.

Blood in the stool or black, tarry stools.

Dehydration or feeling weak, tired or dizzy.

Concentrated urine or urinating less than usual.

Feeling thirsty.


• Rehydration is important.

• Intake of water, fruit juices, salt-containing liquids such as warm broth and sports

drinks like Gatorade are recommended.

• In viral diarrhea, fluids and rest are usually enough.

• Persistent diarrhea (i.e., more than 3 days) or diarrhea accompanied by other

symptoms should NOT be treated with over-the-counter medications such as Imodium

without the advice of your doctor.

If a person cannot drink enough to keep up with the fluid lost during bowel movements, he should be brought to the hospital for rehydration. If any of these warning signs occur, please consult your specialist right away.

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