Here's When to Seek Help for Diarrhea

 Here's When to Seek Help for Diarrhea

Almost 180 million people in the United States experience a bout of acute diarrhea every year. Diarrhea is loose, watery stools that pass more often than your usual schedule. Acute cases of diarrhea may be due to something you ate, a short-term stomach bug, or medication, like antibiotics.

However, if other symptoms accompany an acute case of diarrhea or if diarrhea lasts longer than 48 hours, it’s important to seek medical help. At GastroDoxs in Houston, Texas, Dr. Bharat Pothuri is ready to assist, especially if your diarrhea is due to a condition like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, or celiac disease. 

Here’s when he suggests you seek medical evaluation and treatment for diarrhea. 

You can usually let acute diarrhea pass

Acute diarrhea may be miserable, but it passes relatively quickly. It’s usually caused by a virus that affected your digestive tract. This virus could be a foodborne illness or transferred by coming in close contact with another sick individual. 

But, if your acute diarrhea persists for longer than 48 hours or you have a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher along with digestive upset, seek medical help. Diarrhea that worsens after two days definitely needs attention.

Other signs that you should make an appointment with Dr. Pothuri include the presence of blood or pus in your stool or signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth, dark urine, and dizziness or weakness.

Chronic diarrhea is concerning

Chronic diarrhea is loose, watery stool that lasts for longer than four weeks. This could be a sign of a medical condition like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or irritable bowel syndrome

If you’ve recently developed mouth sores along with chronic diarrhea, it’s additional evidence of the inflammatory bowel disease called Crohn’s disease. The mouth sores can also be a sign of celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that flares when you eat gluten — a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

Stomach or rectal pain that comes along with diarrhea could be a sign of appendicitis or, again, an inflammatory bowel disease. 

Bright red blood in your diarrhea is concerning, but you should also watch for black streaks or clumps. These indicate bleeding that’s occurring higher up in your digestive tract. 

Diarrhea naturally causes a small degree of weight loss, but if you have chronic diarrhea and keep losing pounds, it’s time to get checked out. It could indicate dehydration or malnutrition, which have serious consequences.

Get a diagnosis for problematic diarrhea

Dr. Pothuri will do a blood test, stool tests, and/or screening tests like a colonoscopy or EGD to look at your digestive tract. The team at GastroDoxs helps you figure out what’s behind your diarrhea and offers treatment or management if it turns out to be a symptom of a chronic condition.

If you’re concerned about unusually loose stools and your digestive health, contact GastroDoxs right away to rule out any serious causes. Call us today or book an appointment online.

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