Having diarrhea is unpleasant and inconvenient, but it usually resolves within a few days. If you’re experiencing a longer bout of diarrhea or having regular attacks, Meade Edmunds, MD, and his team at Edmunds Gastroenterology in Knoxville, Tennessee, can help by finding the root cause of your diarrhea. Once you know why you have diarrhea, Dr. Edmunds can prescribe the appropriate treatment. Call the office today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online.
Diarrhea is a condition where stool output is associated with loose or watery stool, or there is an increase in the frequency of passing stool. There are many causes, the most common of which are:
You may also experience discomfort during or in between bouts of diarrhea, or have a fever, vomiting, or pain, depending on the cause.
Stool samples and possible blood testing are often obtained, but in more difficult cases, endoscopy may be warranted to assess the cause of diarrhea. Biopsies may be taken at the time of endoscopy in order to further delineate the cause of diarrhea, such as microscopic diarrhea, ischemic diarrhea, or inflammatory bowel disease.
Diarrhea may result in severe dehydration or subsequent kidney injury along with hypotension associated with stroke and infection. Metabolic disarray leading to cardiac dysrhythmia or cardiac rhythm disturbances, tetany, and neurological problems may occur. Prolonged malabsorption often leads to osteoporosis, nutritional deficiencies, and weight loss.
If you have diarrhea, drink regularly through the day to keep your fluid intake up, as it’s easy to become dehydrated when you’re losing extra fluid in your stool. Dehydration can cause serious complications, so even if you feel sick, take sips of water as often as you can.
You should also eat bland foods such as white rice, potatoes, and plain toast, and avoid spicy, rich food until your diarrhea goes away.
Medical treatment of diarrhea depends on the cause. Infectious causes often resolve on their own, but some may require antibiotic therapy. Nutrient-induced diarrhea (lactose intolerance) can be helped by avoiding certain foods. Medicines may be required in order to treat diarrhea for such conditions as microscopic colitis or inflammatory bowel disease. Special diets, such as a gluten-free diet or a low-FODMAP diet, may also enhance the resolution of diarrhea.
If you suffer from recurrent bouts of diarrhea, or you’ve had diarrhea for more than a few days and it’s not getting any better, call Edmunds Gastroenterology to schedule a consultation with Dr. Edmunds. Or you can book an appointment using the online scheduler.
This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Please consult with your primary care physician or a specialist regarding your symptoms.