If you are experiencing frequent loose, watery stools, you have diarrhea, a common issue that is often a symptom of a health issue, such as a virus. Usually, diarrhea goes away on its own after a few days. However, if diarrhea lasts for a few weeks or you have persistent diarrhea occurring more than 10 to 12 times in a day, it’s considered severe and requires medical attention. Our multidisciplinary team works together to determine the cause of your diarrhea and provides an individualized treatment program that treats both the symptom and any underlying cause.
Severe Diarrhea Causes
- Food poisoning
- Stomach flu
- Lactose intolerance
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Contaminated food or water
- Digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Colorectal cancer
- Reaction to medication
In addition to frequent loose, watery stools, other symptoms for diarrhea include:
- Stomach pain
- Weight loss
- Blood in the stool
Testing and Diagnosing Diarrhea
To diagnose, we begin by collecting a thorough history and conducting a comprehensive physical exam. We’ll also talk about any medications you are currently taking, as some medications do have the potential to cause diarrhea. A blood test and stool test may be necessary to determine the cause of the diarrhea.
If your diarrhea does not resolve on its own within a few days, your doctor may recommend any of the following:
- Over-the-counter antidiarrheal medicine, such as Imodium or Pepto-Bismol.
- Antibiotics, if it’s been determined that your diarrhea is due to a bacterial infection.
- Medication adjustment, if one of your current medications is causing the diarrhea.
- Replacing fluids, by drinking more or receiving them intravenously (if your dehydration is severe or you are unable to hold them down). Children and elderly people especially are at risk for dehydration.
- Treating other underlying conditions, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, with the help of our multidisciplinary team to create a complete treatment plan.
Other Information About Digestive and Liver Health
To see related medical services we offer, visit our Digestive and Liver Health overview page.
Make an Appointment
To schedule an appointment to discuss your diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issue, call us at 888-229-7408.