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diarrhea, woman holding stomachDiarrhea is a digestive condition in which stools are passed more frequently and in a loose form. Diarrhea can occur as loose or watery stools. Severe diarrhea may last for over 5 days, and can cause serious dehydration and abdominal pain.

Diarrhea generally occurs when foods move too quickly through the intestines and water is not absorbed properly. It may also be caused by inflammation of the gut related to infections, cholera or inflammatory bowel disease, viruses, or bacteria.

Stools with blood in it may be a sign of dysentery, a condition in which too much water is released due to the production of anti-diuretics in the posterior pituitary gland.

Diarrhea may also be caused by antibiotics, excessive drinking of alcohol or caffeine, and anxiety.

How is Diarrhea Treated?

Anyone who has diarrhea should be sure to drink lots of fluids, especially water, in order to replace lost liquids. It is also recommended that patients eat a diet that is high in carbohydrates and low in fat. Persons with diarrhea may be prescribed anti-diuretics, probiotics, or other medications for slowing the rate of bowel movements in order to allow more water to be absorbed into the gut.

If diarrhea persists for over 7 days, contact your healthcare provider immediately.