While nearly all people experience diarrhea – loose, watery stools that occur more than three times a day – from time to time, chronic diarrhea may be of serious concern. In most cases, diarrhea is caused by food poisoning, infection, medication or a food intolerance. In the short term, replenishing water and electrolytes is important for people with diarrhea in order to prevent dehydration.
However, diarrhea that lasts for more than four weeks is usually not caused by a transient infection. Causes can include some medications, surgeries, endocrine diseases, immune diseases, inflammatory bowel disorders, tumors or malabsorption during digestion. A gastroenterologist can perform tests and a careful examination in order to determine the cause of diarrhea and provide treatment for the underlying cause.