Diarrhea is a common medical term used to describe watery or loose stools that typically occur more often than normal. This condition is something that everyone experiences at some point during their life, and some people find that they are plagued with it far more often than others. Often, diarrhea means that you will spend more time visiting a bathroom, and you will have much more stool to evacuate from your bowels.

Most of the time, diarrhea signs and symptoms will only last for a couple of days. However, in certain circumstances, diarrhea can last for weeks. During these circumstances, if the diarrhea lasts for an extended period of time, this could indicate a disorder, or a less significant condition like IBS.

Symptoms to Watch For

The most common diarrhea symptoms include: watery, loose, and frequent stools, abdominal pain and cramps, fever, bloating, and blood in the stool. If you begin to notice diarrhea signs and symptoms, it’s important to speak to your doctor when those signs continue to persist for more than two days. You may also find that you need to speak to a doctor if you start becoming dehydrated, showing symptoms such as dry skin and mouth, inability to urinate, severe excessive thirst, weakness, light-headedness, or dizziness. If you begin to notice black or bloody stools, suffer from severe rectal or abdominal pain, or are experiencing a fever of above 102 F, then see a doctor immediately.

Why Diarrhea Happens

Usually, diarrhea takes place when the fluids and foods that you ingest as part of your regular meals are too large, or pass too quickly through your colon. Normally, the colon is responsible for absorbing excess liquids within the food you eat, which leads to a semi-solid stool which you can pass later. However, if the colon is unable to absorb the liquids in the foods that you eat, the result will be a very watery bowel movement. At this time, a number of conditions and diseases are known for causing diarrhea. For example, bacteria and parasites that get into your system through contaminated water or food can transmit parasites and bacteria to your body, which leads to diarrhea.

What’s more, medications can cause diarrhea as a side-effect, and this is most commonly the case with doses of antibiotics, which are responsible for removing both good and bad bacteria at the same time. Often, taking antibiotics can disturb the natural balance of the bacteria in your intestines, which sometimes leads to an infection.

Another common cause of diarrhea in most people are digestive disorders or lactose intolerance. Chronic diarrhea typically comes from problems that have already been diagnosed by a doctor in the past, such as microscopic colitis, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and IBS. However, if you are suffering from chronic diarrhea and you have not been diagnosed with an underlying condition that would explain the presence of this problem in your system, it may be worth speaking to your doctor and undergoing some tests that might explain the frequency of your diarrhea.