Diarrhea: Overview

Diarrhea has many possible causes, of which the most likely is probably infectious gastroenteritis, causing diarrhea often with nausea and vomiting. But there are various other causes of acute diarrhea, and chronic ongoing diarrhea also has various chronic disorders as its cause.

Diarrhea is often preceded by symptoms such as soft stool or watery stool. More specific types of diarrheal symptoms include watery diarrhea and bloody diarrhea.

Because of fluid loss from diarrhea, is important to monitor for complications such as dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, as well as treating the underlying cause.

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Back to: « Diarrhea

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Diarrhoea is an increase in the frequency, runniness or volume of the faeces. Acute diarrhoea may be a symptom of infection of the digestive system (gastroenteritis) which is usually caused by a virus, but sometimes is caused by bacteria or parasites. It may also occur in association with other communicable diseases such as measles and malaria.

Source: Queensland Health1

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Diarrhoea is when you have to keep going to the toilet to pass loose, watery bowel motions ("poos’). Find self-care tips, and advice on when to see a doctor.

Source: New Zealand Health2

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Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea usually goes away on its own within a few days. Make sure you or your child drink plenty of fluids.

Source: NHS Choices UK3

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Diarrhea is frequent, loose, and watery bowel movements. Bowel movements, also called stools, are body wastes passed through the rectum and anus. Stools contain what is left after your digestive system absorbs nutrients and fluids from what you eat and drink. If your body does not absorb the fluids, or if your digestive system produces extra fluids, stools will be loose and watery. Loose stools contain more water, salts, and minerals and weigh more than solid stools.

Diarrhea that lasts a short time is called acute diarrhea. Acute diarrhea is a common problem and usually lasts only 1 or 2 days, but it may last longer. Diarrhea that lasts for at least 4 weeks is called chronic diarrhea. Chronic diarrhea symptoms may be continual or they may come and go.

Source: NIDDK (NIH)4

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What is diarrhea?

Diarrhea is loose, watery stools (bowel movements). You have diarrhea if you have loose stools three or more times in one day. Acute diarrhea is diarrhea that lasts a short time. It is a common problem. It usually lasts about one or two days, but it may last longer. Then it goes away on its own.

Diarrhea lasting more than a few days may be a sign of a more serious problem. Chronic diarrhea -- diarrhea that lasts at least four weeks -- can be a symptom of a chronic disease. Chronic diarrhea symptoms may be continual, or they may come and go.

Who gets diarrhea?

People of all ages can get diarrhea. On average, adults In the United States have acute diarrhea once a year. Young children have it an average of twice a year.

People who visit developing countries are at risk for traveler's diarrhea. It is caused by consuming contaminated food or water.

Source: MedLinePlus (NIH)5

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Diarrhea: Watery bowel movements.6

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Diarrhea: An increased liquidity or decreased consistency of Feces, such as running stool. Fecal consistency is related to the ratio of water-holding capacity of insoluble solids to total water, rather than the amount of water present. Diarrhea is not hyperdefecation or increased fecal weight.7

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Diarrhea: Abnormally increased frequency of loose or watery bowel movements.8

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Diarrhea: A gastrointestinal system disease described as the condition of having frequent loose or liquid bowel movements. Acute diarrhea is a common cause of death in developing countries and the second most common cause of infant deaths worldwide. The loss of fluids through diarrhea can cause severe dehydration which is one cause of death in diarrhea sufferers. Along with water, sufferers also lose dangerous amounts of important salts, electrolytes, and other nutrients. There are at least four types of diarrhea: secretory diarrhea, osmotic diarrhea, motility-related diarrhea, and inflammatory diarrhea.9

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Diarrhea: A gastrointestinal system disease described as the condition of having frequent loose or liquid bowel movements. Acute diarrhea is a common cause of death in developing countries and the second most common cause of infant deaths worldwide. The loss of fluids through diarrhea can cause severe dehydration which is one cause of death in diarrhea sufferers. Along with water, sufferers also lose dangerous amounts of important salts, electrolytes, and other nutrients. There are at least four types of diarrhea: secretory diarrhea, osmotic diarrhea, motility-related diarrhea, and inflammatory diarrhea.10

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Diarrhea is a feces and droppng symptom involving the abnormally frequent intestinal evacuations with more or less fluid stools.11

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Diarrhea adverse event: An abnormal defecation adverse event that has an outcome of diarrhea, which is abnormally frequent discharge of semi-solid or fluid fecal matter from the bowel12

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References

  1. Source: Queensland Health: conditions.health.qld.gov.au/ HealthCondition/ condition/ 14/ 33/ 39/ diarrhoea-in-young-children
  2. Source: New Zealand Health: health.govt.nz/ your-health/ conditions-and-treatments/ diseases-and-illnesses
  3. Source: NHS Choices UK: nhs.uk/ conditions/ Diarrhoea/ 
  4. Source: NIDDK (NIH): niddk.nih.gov/ health-information/ health-topics/ digestive-diseases/ diarrhea/ Pages/ ez.aspx
  5. Source: MedLinePlus (NIH): medlineplus.gov/ diarrhea.html
  6. Source: NCI Thesaurus
  7. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  8. Source: Human Phenotype Ontology
  9. Source: Disease Ontology
  10. Source: Monarch Initiative
  11. Source: SYMP Ontology
  12. Source: OAE Ontology

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.