Diarrhea is one of those ailments that you’re going to experience several times through your lifetime. In the majority of cases, it’s nothing to worry about and may be caused by a stomach upset, stress, or the side effect of medication.
However, there are a few instances when you should consult a doctor for medical evaluation, and here we share with you the signs that you should come and see us at Hawaii Gastroenterology Specialists.
There are several symptoms of diarrhea
You have diarrhea when your stool is loose and watery three or more times in a day, but there are other signs of the ailment. These include:
- abdominal cramps or pain
- dizziness and lightheadedness
- feeling dehydrated
- fever and chills
- loss of control over bowel movements
- nausea and/or vomiting
- urgency to visit the bathroom
It’s not unusual for diarrhea to stick around for a few days, so it’s important to stay hydrated, eat well to avoid malabsorption, and rest until you’ve fully recovered.
A number of conditions and diseases can cause diarrhea
Bacteria is a common cause for diarrhea, particularly Salmonella and Escherichia coli which are found in contaminated food and water. This is what you know as food poisoning and can make you feel incredibly ill.
Viruses are another cause of diarrhea that can be passed on quickly and easily between people in highly populated areas, like schools, hospitals, workplaces, and public transportation.
Medication, particularly antibiotics, can cause diarrhea by upsetting the natural balance of good and bad bacteria within your digestive system. If you’ve recently started new medication, check the insert to see if diarrhea is a listed side effect.
Digestive disorders are the biggest cause of diarrhea and can vary from celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome to Crohn's disease and colitis. If you’re not sure of the cause of your diarrhea and it happens on a frequent basis, book a consultation to see if any of these conditions could be to blame.
Watch out for these warning signs that you need medical attention
Diarrhea that persists longer than a few days can lead to severe dehydration, which is a significant concern in itself. This can indicate that the cause of the loose and watery stool is due to an infection or other condition that needs treatment.
So if your diarrhea has lasted more than 2 days, you need to come and see us at Hawaii Gastroenterology Specialists as soon as possible.
Other signs that your diarrhea requires a medical exam include:
- a fever of 102°F or higher
- blood in the stool
- severe abdominal or rectal pain
Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.
It’s essential to diagnose persistent diarrhea and severe symptoms correctly
Due to the number of reasons you might be experiencing diarrhea, the treatment and management of this condition will vary according to the cause. So it is crucial that the condition triggering your diarrhea is correctly identified.
Here at Hawaii Gastroenterology Specialists, we’ll ask you several questions along with a thorough physical exam that may include some specific tests, such as:
- a stool test
- blood test
The information we get from these tests will enable us to pinpoint the exact cause of your diarrhea and put together a comprehensive treatment plan that will restore your digestive system to its natural, healthy balance.
We will also seek to manage any long-term conditions you may have and ensure you don’t suffer from the complications of diarrhea like severe dehydration and malabsorption.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and are concerned about diarrhea, request an appointment with us at Hawaii Gastroenterology Specialists by clicking the button or giving us a call.