What is Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is a condition in which loose or watery stools are passed three times or more each day. There are several different causes of diarrhea, and it can be classified as either acute or chronic (lasting two or more weeks).

Acute Diarrhea

Acute diarrhea is a common problem that usually lasts one or two days and resolves on its own. Acute diarrhea can be caused by infections or a variety of other factors. Diarrhea caused by infections usually stems from consuming contaminated food or water. Acute diarrhea can occur as a side effect of antibiotics or other drugs, food allergies or gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease. A person who has mild diarrhea may have a few loose bowel movements, but otherwise feels well. By contrast, a person with severe diarrhea may have 10 or more bowel movements per day and could lose a significant amount of water and bodily, increasing the risk of dehydration. Diarrhea may be accompanied by fever, abdominal pain and cramping and, and mucous and blood in the stool.

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Chronic Diarrhea

Chronic diarrhea is defined as three or more loose stools per day for at least two weeks. There are many causes of chronic diarrhea. Some of the more common causes include: the irritable bowel syndrome; inflammatory bowel disease; microscopic colitis; diet-related factors such as lactose intolerance; food allergies or sensitivities; hormonal conditions such as diabetes; or medications.

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The board-certified physicians at San Francisco Gastroenterology are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the digestive tract, including Diarrhea. Our doctors serve from Marin County, Oakland, Berkeley, Palo Alto and the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Our goal is simply to provide the highest quality medical care and patient service possible.

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