Diarrhea is a condition that causes loose and watery stools. You may associate diarrhea with a frequent, urgent need to go to the bathroom, which is a common symptom, but that’s not necessary for the condition. What distinguishes diarrhea is the quality of the stool itself.
If you have diarrhea, your intestines aren’t properly absorbing nutrients and fluids from food and liquids as they pass through.
Acute diarrhea is short-term, usually lasting no more than three days, and is rarely the sign of another condition. Viruses often cause acute diarrhea, and you can treat it with over-the-counter medication.
Chronic diarrhea lasts for four weeks or longer and is most often the symptom of a chronic condition affecting your digestive system. It’s important to visit Dr. Abitbol if you’ve had diarrhea for that long, both to diagnose the underlying condition and to avoid complications such as dehydration, weight loss, and malnutrition.