Acute diarrhea is something nearly everyone has experienced at one time or another. The loose, watery stools and abdominal cramps that characterize diarrhea usually last a couple of days. Diarrhea often means more-frequent trips to the toilet and a greater volume of stool.
By definition, chronic diarrhea lasts much longer than does acute diarrhea, generally longer than four weeks. It can be a sign of a serious disorder, such as inflammatory bowel disease, or a less serious condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Diarrhea may cause a loss of significant amounts of water and salts. Most cases of diarrhea clear on their own without treatment. But see your doctor if diarrhea persists, if you become dehydrated or if you pass blood in your stool.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms associated with diarrhea may include:
- Frequent, loose, watery stools
- Abdominal cramps
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in the stool
In addition, other signs and symptoms such as nausea and vomiting may precede diarrhea that’s caused by, for example, an infection. Bacterial or parasitic infections sometimes cause bloody stools, and fever may accompany these infections as well. If you are an adult, see your doctor if:
- Your diarrhea persists beyond three days
- You become dehydrated — as evidenced by excessive thirst, dry mouth or skin, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness, or dark-colored urine
- You have severe abdominal or rectal pain
- You have bloody or black stools
- You have a temperature of more than 102 F (39 C), or signs of dehydration despite drinking plenty of liquids
In children, particularly young children, diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration. Call your doctor if your child’s diarrhea doesn’t improve within 24 hours or if your baby:
- Hasn’t had a wet diaper in three or more hours
- Has a fever of more than 102 F (39 C)
- Has bloody or black stools
- Has a dry mouth or cries without tears
- Is unusually sleepy, drowsy, unresponsive or irritable
- Has a sunken appearance to the abdomen, eyes or cheeks
- Has skin that doesn’t flatten if pinched and released
Integrative Medicine Treatment Options
We combine the best of conventional medicine with the best of complementary and alternative therapies to give you optimal results.
Here are some options we use at Alliance Integrative Medicine LOCATED IN Cincinnati, Ohio
- Medication, Herbal Therapies and Supplements
Our diarrhea patients come to us from Mason, Indian Hill, Hyde Park, Loveland and Westchester/Liberty Township as well as Blue Ash, Finneytown, Reading, Springdale, Terrace Park and from all over the U.S.