Skip to main content

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.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Lifestyle Adjustments to Manage Dysphagia

Incorporating lifestyle adjustments can significantly enhance the quality of life for people with dysphagia, which is difficulty swallowing. Learn more about how you or a loved one can make daily changes to improve symptoms of dysphagia.
I'm at Risk for Colon Cancer — What Should I Do?

I'm at Risk for Colon Cancer — What Should I Do?

Having an increased risk of developing colon cancer doesn’t mean the disease is inevitable. Learn how you can proactively reduce your risk of colon cancer and detect any potential problems early on, when it’s most treatable.

IBD-Friendly Snacks to Munch On

When you have inflammatory bowel disease, watching your diet helps you manage your condition during flare-ups and during remission. You may have mealtime down, but snacks pose a challenge. Here are some suggestions for IBD-friendly munchies.

When Is Abdominal Pain a Sign of Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis describes a condition in which inflammation overtakes your colon and rectum. When this happens, small ulcers can create abdominal pain, bleeding, and other unpleasant symptoms. How do you know you have ulcerative colitis? Read on.

All About Liver Elastography

If you have suspected damage to your liver from a disease like hepatitis or fatty liver disease, you may be scheduled for liver elastography to look for scarring on the organ. Here’s what to know about this procedure.
6 Common Signs of Acid Reflux

6 Common Signs of Acid Reflux

You may know acid reflux as heartburn, but there are other signs of this digestive issue. We share six common signs of acid reflux that we can treat to help you manage the condition.