Diarrhea — passing watery stools — is a common problem caused by diet, short-lived infections, and persistent diseases. If you have frequent or recurring diarrhea, Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants in Santa Ana and Irvine, California, can help. Their well-regarded doctors determine the cause of your diarrhea and prescribe treatments that effectively restore your bowel health. Call Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants today or book an appointment online to find a fast solution for diarrhea.
Diarrhea is watery, loose stools. You might also experience bloating, cramps, or nausea when you have diarrhea. Depending on the cause of your condition, you could suffer from vomiting, fever, chills, and sweats. You might get little warning before needing a bowel movement and have trouble retaining the loose stool.
Everyone occasionally has diarrhea; in most cases, it goes away within a few days. Diarrhea that continues longer or returns frequently can be a symptom of a longer-term problem.
Diarrhea usually results from dietary changes, a stomach bug (gastroenteritis), or food poisoning. It’s also a symptom of infections like the flu. With self-care (rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating bland, easily-digested foods), your diarrhea should clear up.
Sometimes diarrhea indicates a chronic (ongoing) condition, including:
If you have diarrhea and see blood, mucus, or pus in your stool or lose weight without trying, see your Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants doctor without delay.
Diarrhea can also lead to dehydration when you lose more fluid from passing loose stools than you take in. Untreated dehydration can cause organ damage and death, so treating it right away is vital.
Diagnosing diarrhea begins with reviews of your symptoms and medical history. You then undergo a physical exam. Your Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants doctor might also take blood and stool samples for lab testing.
If you have recurring diarrhea or your symptoms don’t clear, you might need to undergo a diagnostic procedure. EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) examines your stomach and duodenum (the upper small intestine). A colonoscopy evaluates your colon (large bowel).
These exams use endoscopes — cameras fitted on flexible tubing — to give your doctor a clear view of your gastrointestinal system. Alternatively, your doctor might give you a tiny pill-shaped camera to swallow, enabling them to look at the entire small intestine.
Most causes of diarrhea clear up by themselves in a few days. But you might benefit from treatment that helps rehydrate your body.
Chronic or recurring diarrhea treatment depends on the cause. If you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD — ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), you might need long-term anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant medications. With celiac disease, you must avoid gluten (a protein found in flour).
Call Gastrointestinal & Liver Consultants today or book an appointment online for expert diarrhea diagnosis and treatment.