Frequent bowel movement characterized by loose and watery stools is referred to as diarrhea. In simple terms, it is exactly opposite to constipation and this condition is very common. It is not very serious and can be treated by simple home remedies and over-the-counter medications. Diarrhea may be categorized into acute and chronic diarrhea. Acute diarrhea has a rapid onset and resolves within five to ten days while chronic diarrhea is a long-term condition. Generally, the symptoms of diarrhea last for a few days, while in chronic diarrhea the symptoms may last for weeks together. Diarrhea is very common among children and elderly people.
The most common symptoms of diarrhea include:
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Loose consistency of stools
- Watery stools
- Sudden urge to have bowel movement
- Nausea or vomiting
In some cases, in addition to the above mentioned symptoms, blood and mucus may be noted in the loose stools suggesting intestinal inflammation. This may be accompanied by sudden weight loss and fever. One should contact the doctor, if these symptoms persist for more than two days at a stretch. You should visit the doctor if you are not able to retain liquids in the body due to vomiting.
Some of the other symptoms warning medical attention include:
- Excessive thirst
- Dryness of the mouth
- Scanty urination
- Severe abdominal pain
- Presence of blood in the stools
- High fever
Dehydration is one of the complications associated with diarrhea. A large amount of fluids and electrolytes are lost from the body resulting in dehydration. Viral infection is one of the most common causes of diarrhea and this is referred to as ‘stomach flu’.