eHealthPedia >

What is diarrhea?

MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA 
What is diarrhea?
What is diarrhea?
Causes of diarrhea
Diagnosis
Treatment

Diarrhea
People of all ages can get diarrhea and the average adult has a bout of acute diarrhea about four times a year. But what is diarrhea? And when does it threaten your health?

What is diarrhea?
Diarrhea is medically defined as loose, watery stools. A person experiencing diarrhea usually passes more than a quart of stool, three times or more in one day. Cramps, bloating, nausea and an urgent need to have a bowel movement are also characteristic of the condition.

Normally, food remains in liquid form during digestion. When unabsorbed food residue passes through your colon, most fluids are absorbed. What remains is a semisolid stool. During a case of diarrhea, food and fluids pass too quickly or in too large an amount - or both - through the large intestine. Fluids cannot be absorbed well enough by the large intestine, and the result is a watery bowel movement. In addition, during diarrhea, the lining of the large intestine may be inflamed, making it less able to absorb fluids.

Acute diarrhea
Acute diarrhea is a common problem that usually lasts 1 or 2 days and goes away on its own without special treatment. This condition is characterized by an increased number of stools or looser form than is customary for the patient, lasting less than 2 weeks. Acute diarrhea is often associated with abdominal symptoms such as cramping, bloating, and gas. Although often mild, acute diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration as a result of large fluid and electrolyte losses, especially in children.

Chronic diarrhea
Prolonged diarrhea can persist for more than 2 days and may be a sign of a more serious problem. Specifically, diarrhea that lasts more than two weeks is called chronic diarrhea. It is important to notice if the diarrhea stools are bloody, oily (fatty) or watery, which can help your doctor arrive at the most likely cause of your symptoms. Longer period of diarrhea poses the risk of dehydration. Chronic diarrhea may be a feature of a chronic disease.

Now that we better understand diarrhea, what causes the condition? To learn more about common reasons for diarrhrea, read on. The next section on Ear Infection Symptoms reviews diarrhea causes.

1 2 3 4 >>
Tags: chronic diarrhea, acute diarrhea, Diarrhea, large intestine, ear infection, intestine, infection, treatment, symptoms, addition, chronic, average, nausea, absorb, cramps, period, fluids, food, gas, ear
Related Topics
Symptoms
Pooh-Bear-2000  3434 views
diarrhea and soft stool
5star  846 views
diarrhea for a month
martiwc  1829 views
Symptom?
jessesgirl  1770 views
Constant Diarrhea
snuggums  8535 views
Ongoing diarrhea
marti2romero  2264 views
Stomach hurts and constant diarrhea
hwilliams88  23075 views
Diarrhea and colon cancer
pattli  2639 views
Diarrhea???????!!!!
weird  6600 views
started Cymbalta and having diarrhea
stacyndonna  32851 views
Constipation and diarrhea during pregnancy
DoctorQuestion  8478 views
Gas/Indigestion/Chronic Diarrhea After C-Section
LegallyBlonde322  21044 views
morning after pill diarrhea
Lauren19  19394 views
Gas , constipated , diarrhea
hearts348  13162 views