A battle with diarrhea makes you feel terrible while you’re stuck at home dealing with symptoms. You may find that you have questions about when to call the doctor and what you can do to feel better. Diarrhea sometimes resolves easily, but it can also lead to dangerous complications like dehydration. Jonathan I. Warman, MD is an experienced gastroenterologist who can help answer your questions and offer treatment options. If you’re struggling with diarrhea, call his office located in the Upper East Side in New York City or book online.

Diarrhea Q & A

What is diarrhea?

Characterized by an urgency to get to the bathroom, diarrhea is the condition of having a watery bowel movement two times or more on a given day. Sometimes, it can involve a loss of bowel control.

When you have diarrhea, you may experience abdominal pain, bloating, and nausea. In some cases, you may also have a fever or vomit. Diarrhea usually goes away after 48 hours. If it doesn’t, your doctor needs to determine why symptoms persist.

What causes diarrhea?

One of the leading causes of diarrhea is foodborne pathogens. If you ingest meat that is undercooked or consume vegetables that have not been properly washed, you put yourself at risk of infection from these bacteria.

Infections, viruses, and parasites also cause diarrhea. Stress and anxiety can contribute to diarrhea as well.

If you have persistent diarrhea, it’s important to rule out an underlying medical condition or a disorder of the digestive tract. These can include Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, or ulcerative colitis. However, the most frequent digestive problem that causes diarrhea is irritable bowel syndrome.

Other common causes of diarrhea include side effects from medication or malabsorption issues.

How is diarrhea treated?

Dehydration is a serious issue with diarrhea. To prevent the loss of too much fluid, you should drink plenty of liquids like water, sports drinks, fruit juices, and soup.

The best way to ease symptoms involves eating a bland diet and avoiding spicy or high-fat foods. Dairy products tend to worsen diarrhea, so eliminating milk or milk products is also a good idea.

When should you see the doctor?

Diarrhea can cause dangerous dehydration or be a part of another illness. Seek assistance if you have any of the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • A fever over 102 °F
  • Showing symptoms of dehydration
  • Blood in the stool
  • Black or tarry stool
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea lasting more than three days

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

There are several ways to tell if you have become dehydrated. These are obvious clues:

  • Dark urine
  • Feeling extremely tired
  • Dry mouth and thirst
  • Light-headed or dizzy
  • Skin that doesn’t return to normal after being pinched

Immediately seek medical attention if you are showing any signs of dehydration.

If you have been suffering from diarrhea and its symptoms, reach out to Dr. Warman at his New York City office by phone or online to make an appointment.