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Diarrhea is too frequent or too loose stooling.

Most of the time diarrhea is acute, only lasting a few days and the cause of it is one of the many kinds of microbes (gastrointestinal pathogen viruses and bacteria), which one can pick up by eating spoiled food (food poisoning; travellers diarrhoea).

Acute diarrhea can be very severe and the loss of fluid sometimes even needs infusion therapy in hospital, but most of the time it is self limiting and heals on a few days of diet and bowel rest.
If however diarrhoea has been around for a long time (more than 6 weeks), other types of diseases might be the reason for it. These can be chronic infections (bacteria, protozoa); irritable bowel syndrome; food intolerances or inflammatory bowel disease. Special stool tests, blood tests and colonoscopy might be necessary for the diagnosis.

What signs and symptoms one has with this problem?

Diarrhea is a symptom. Looser then usual stool, from mashy to watery, from one to several times a day.

If it is severe (many times, watery, causing dehydration and not stopping in 24-48 hours), it is important to seek medical help from a general or a family medicine doctor.

If it is mild, not causing dehydration, with no abdominal pain, but does not clear up in 6 weeks, it is suggested to see a gastroenterologist or coloproctologist either directly or after seeing a general or a family medicine doctor.