3 Signs you Should See a Doctor for Diarrhea
You should also see a doctor if you experience recurrent diarrhea for more than four weeks or if there's blood in your stool. Diarrhea that is accompanied by nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and fever also demands a trip to the doctor for further diagnosis since it can indicate infection, colon cancer, pancreatitis, Crohn's disease or irritable bowel syndrome.
Diarrhea With Dehydration
Diarrhea can both accompany and cause dehydration, which can quickly become a serious condition requiring hospitalization. Dehydration occurs when the body loses so much of its essential fluids that it can't continue to operate normally. As soon as diarrhea starts, begin to rehydrate with water or other clear liquids right away. Call a doctor if, even with rehydration, the diarrhea continues for three days or more, or if it's accompanied by pain or fever. Be prepared to describe to your doctor what seems to trigger the diarrhea, what your stools look like, whether you've traveled out of the country recently, all medications you're taking and any symptoms accompanying the diarrhea.
Diarrhea in Infants
Diarrhea in infants can lead to dehydration very quickly, so you need to keep an eye on children experiencing this symptom. If a baby doesn't wet his diaper for over three hours, if he has black stools, if his mouth is dry or he if has a high fever, call your doctor and say you suspect the baby is suffering from dehydration. Other symptoms to look out for are sunken eyes or cheeks and skin that doesn't flatten right away when you pinch it.
Sometimes people develop diarrhea when traveling because they pick up food- or water-borne parasites that their intestinal systems aren't used to. This type of diarrhea can be infectious, and it can last long after a trip is over. If it continues once you've returned to your normal food and water sources, see a doctor to have your stools tested for parasites. Failure to treat traveler's diarrhea can result in it becoming a chronic condition, similar to irritable bowel syndrome, as the gut's bacteria have been permanently altered.
Diarrhea consists of loose, watery stools that continue across many trips to the bathroom. Typically, diarrhea persists for more than one day. While most cases of diarrhea subside on their own, the condition can be potentially dangerous because of the fluids and essential salts lost. In addition, diarrhea is sometimes a warning sign that a more serious disease or condition is present. When diarrhea doesn't resolve itself quickly, a trip to the doctor may be in order.