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When Is Diarrhea a Cause for Concern?

When Is Diarrhea a Cause for Concern?

You eat something that doesn’t agree with you and your body promptly expels it in the form of liquidy stool, or diarrhea. Or, perhaps you get a stomach virus that leaves you with diarrhea for a few days. These are perfectly normal circumstances in which diarrhea isn’t necessarily a cause for concern.

That said, gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms like heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea drive about 100 million visits to medical providers each year in the United States.

When it comes to determining whether your diarrhea is a potential problem, Dr. Sam Weissman wants to share a few rules of thumb when it comes to this uncomfortable GI symptom.

Severe diarrhea

Most acute cases of diarrhea last from 1-4 days and then clear up. During this time, you should drink plenty of fluids and get what foods you can into your system.

Running to the bathroom several times each day is typically par for the course with acute cases of diarrhea, but if you have more than 10 bowel movements in a day, it’s a good idea to have us check you out.

If your diarrhea is accompanied by severe rectal or abdominal pain, it’s also an indication that you should come see us.


Whether your diarrhea is severe or persistent, our main concern is dehydration. When you have diarrhea, your body may be expelling fluids faster than you’re taking them in, leaving you dehydrated.

Signs of dehydration include:

If any of these sound familiar, it’s important to seek medical help to get rehydrated with intravenous fluids.

Ongoing diarrhea

Maybe you have bouts of diarrhea that, in and of themselves, aren’t particularly worrisome, but they are consistent. Perhaps each month, you can count on several episodes of loose stools.

If you’re experiencing ongoing problems with diarrhea, they could signal a larger GI or general health issue, such as:

Even certain medications, such as antibiotics or cancer drugs, can lead to chronic diarrhea, as they can alter the bacteria in your gut.

Easing your diarrhea

We understand the impact that diarrhea can have on your overall quality of life, so we work hard to get to the bottom of your problem.

After reviewing your symptoms and your general health, we can get a better idea about where to focus our fact-finding. Through testing, we can typically diagnose what’s behind your loose stools and get on you on the road to healthier bowel movements.

For expert help with your diarrhea issues, please call our Brighton Beach area office in Brooklyn, New York, at 609-793-9375 or request an appointment through this website.

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