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When Should You See A Doctor For Diarrhea

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Living With Vomiting And Diarrhea

When Should You See a Doctor about Diarrhea?

Vomiting and diarrhea usually dont last long. If its caused by an infection, vomiting and diarrhea are a way for the body to get rid of the infection. Giving medicines that stop vomiting and diarrhea may actually interfere with the bodys efforts to heal. Antibiotics are usually not necessary either. Talk to your family doctor if you or a loved one is frequently vomiting or having diarrhea.

What Do I Do If My Baby Or Young Child Has Diarrhea

If your child has severe diarrhea, call your healthcare provider. Young children are at a higher risk of dehydration than adults. You also cant treat a childs diarrhea the same way you would an adult case. Over-the-counter medications can be dangerous in young children and all treatments of diarrhea in children should be guided by their healthcare provider. Its important to keep your child hydrated. Your provider will help you determine the best way to do this, but options often include:

  • Breast milk.
  • Formula.
  • Electrolyte drinks for older children this is not recommended for babies.

The best option to keep your child hydrated might change as the child ages. Always check with your provider before giving your child a new liquid or treatment of any kind.

If you have any questions or concerns about your childs diarrhea, dont hesitate to call your provider.

When To Seek Treatment

Even when taking preventative measures, there are times, what I call red flag symptoms, when a person should visit their doctor, such as when there are:

  • Nocturnal stools or waking up in the middle of the night to have a bowel movement
  • Signs of blood in the stool
  • Symptoms of weight loss, fevers, or night sweats
  • Times when diarrhea occurs even without eating, or on an empty stomach

I remember treating a young woman who had been on antibiotics many times for sinusitis and urinary tract infections, and she was suffering with chronic diarrhea. After tests from her primary care provider showed no obvious conditions, we gave her a breath test and discovered she was suffering from small bowel bacterial overgrowth. After initially treating her with a non-absorbable antibiotic , we helped the patient improve her diet with more plant-based foods, adding prebiotic foods, and probiotics. Her condition vastly improved in the following months.

For most patients, the first step in diagnosing the cause of chronic diarrhea is a stool study to uncover undiagnosed infections or diseases. The doctor also might conduct lab work to identify any conditions, such as anemia or abnormal liver numbers.

Diarrhea can make everyday activities a hassle, but it also can signify a more serious condition. If youre suffering from severe or chronic diarrhea, see your doctor for help right away.

Call or click below to make an appointment with a doctor.

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The Pain Is Especially Intense During Your Period And Has Been Getting Worse Over The Years

Cramps can be a normal part of having a period, and hopefully, if yours are extreme, youve already seen a doctor. But its also worth noting that you should see someone if your cramps have sneakily gotten worse over time, Lauren Streicher, M.D., a professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine, tells SELF. If your cramps are worse now than they were a year ago , it could be a sign of a condition like endometriosis. Endometriosis is thought to happen when tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of your uterus on other organs. That can lead to unbelievable pain that can show up in a variety of ways, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists explains: period cramps, pain when you go to the bathroom, chronic pain in your lower back and pelvis, and pain during sex, along with other issues like heavy bleeding.

Keep in mind that the exact way endometriosis pain feels can vary from person to person. Its usually worse during a period and can feel sharp and cramping, Dr. Streicher says. But, for some people, its more like a dull, throbby pain. Its also not always worse during a persons periodsometimes its just bad throughout the month. There are ways to treat endometriosis pain, so dont write it off as something you just need to deal with. Try to find an endometriosis specialist who can help.

How Can I Feel Better

Should You See A Doctor For Diarrhea

Your rectal area may become sore because of all the bowel movements that diarrhea brings. You may have itching, burning, or pain when you go to the bathroom.

For relief, take a warm bath. Afterward, pat the area dry with a clean, soft towel. You may also try using a hemorrhoid cream or petroleum jelly on the affected area.

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Can You Stand The Heat

Many veggies lose nutrients when you boil them, but a few get better when the heat is on. Canned tomatoes can be more healthy than vine-ripe because cooking breaks them down, releasing lycopene and chemicals that are good for your heart. Processed corn and spinach have more lutein, an antioxidant that protects your eyes. Have these quick-start items in your pantry for your own homemade soup.

Who To See For Diarrhea

Any general practice physician, , or can evaluate and treat diarrhea. For infants and children who require medical attention for diarrhea, call your or , or go to an urgent care facility. For anyone experiencing symptoms of severe dehydration, such as or loss of consciousness, call 911 for immediate assistance.

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Can Antibiotics Cause Diarrhea

Most antibiotics can cause diarrhea. Antibiotics can change the balance of bacteria normally found in the intestines, allowing certain types of bacteria like C. difficile to thrive. When this happens, your colon can become overrun by bad bacteria that causes colitis .

Antibiotic-associated diarrhea can begin any time while youre taking the antibiotic or shortly thereafter. If you experience this side effect, call your healthcare provider to talk about the diarrhea and discuss the best option to relieve this side effect.

How Do Doctors Find The Cause Of Diarrhea

My daughter has had diarrhea for 2 weeks, but no fever. Should she see the doctor?

Doctors will:

  • ask about what the child ate most recently, when symptoms began, and how often the diarrhea is happening
  • ask specific questions about the diarrhea: Is it watery? Is there blood in the poop?;
  • do an exam
  • sometimes, take a stool sample to send to a lab for analysis. This helps them find out which germ is causing the illness.

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Risk Of Spreading Infection

Most cases of acute diarrhoea are potentially infectious to others. Viruses are easily spread, mainly through direct contact with vomit or faeces from an infected person, or through contact with a contaminated object or surface. Occasionally, the virus may be transmitted by airborne particles generated from vomiting and diarrhoea.People can reduce their chances of getting infected by carefully washing their hands after going to the toilet and before handling food. People looking after a person with the virus must also wash their hands thoroughly. Alcohol-based handwash solutions, available from pharmacies, have been shown to be better at reducing the spread of infection than soap and water, and are less drying to the skin.Anyone with acute diarrhoea should stay at home if possible to reduce the spread of infection. It is strongly recommended not to visit hospitals and nursing homes, and not to swim in public pools.

Continue Learning About Diarrhea

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.

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How Are Vomiting And Diarrhea Diagnosed

Vomiting and diarrhea can be diagnosed at home. Neither condition requires a trip to the doctor. However, call your doctor if the vomiting and diarrhea dont seem to be getting better, or if the person who is vomiting and/or has diarrhea:

  • Is younger than 6 months old.
  • Is older than 6 months old and has a fever higher than 101.4°F.
  • Has signs of dehydration .
  • Has been vomiting longer than 8 hours or is vomiting with great force.
  • Has blood in his or her stools.
  • Has blood in his or her vomit.
  • Has not urinated in 8 hours.
  • Might have swallowed something that could be poisonous.
  • Has a stiff neck or bad headache.
  • Is listless or unusually sleepy.
  • Has had abdominal pain for more than 2 hours.

When Should You Seek Medical Care

Should You See A Doctor For Diarrhea

Diarrhea can usually be treated with home care. In some cases, it may become more severe. A person should go to a hospital emergency department in the following situations:

  • If the person has the condition along with high fever, moderate-to-severe abdominal pain, or dehydration that cannot be managed by drinking fluids
  • If the diarrhea appears to contain blood
  • If the person is sleepy and is not acting like their usual selves
  • Vomiting and inability to tolerate any food or to keep liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration
  • High fever, significant abdominal pain, frequent loose bowel movements, or bloody diarrhea
  • If he or she is elderly or has serious underlying medical problems, particularly diabetes, heart, kidney, or liver disease, or HIV/AIDS
  • A parent or caregiver needs advice about preventing dehydration in newborns and infants
  • Symptoms do not improve in two to three days or appear to become worse
  • If he or she develops diarrhea after travel within their home country, or foreign travel; or if a woman is pregnant

For cases of chronic diarrhea, your primary care provider may consult with a gastroenterologist .


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Diarrhea Treatment At Home

Acute diarrhea can cause dehydration, so start your home treatment of diarrhea with these strategies:

  • In adults, including elderly people, drink water as often as possible during a bout of diarrhea. If this makes them throw up, they can take small sips every 15 to 30 minutes.

  • In children, give a few tablespoons of water or an electrolyte replacement drink every hour for the first 4 to 6 hours.

  • In infants, continue breastfeeding as normal. If bottle feeding, dilute the formula for the first 2 or 3 feedings after diarrhea begins.;

Because severe diarrhea and often go hand in hand, you also can try the BRAT diet to calm both conditions. Dont move to solid foods until you can keep clear liquids down.

If the diarrhea continues for more than a couple of days, consider taking an over-the-counter antidiarrheal medicine. The two main types of medications for diarrhea are:

  • Bismuth salicylate . This medication helps reduce irritation and inflammation of the stomach and bowel lining. It also destroys bacteria that may be causing your diarrhea. This medication is generally safe for children to take as well.

  • Loperamide . This medication slows down the action of the bowel, which helps your body retain fluid and firms up the stool. It generally is safe for children as young as 6.

The Lowdown On Diarrhea: When Is It Time To See A Doctor

by Nidhi Malhotra, MD, GastroenterologistDecember 11, 2018

Diarrhea is a menace in the form of hard-to-control bowel movements and loose, watery stools three or more times per dayquite the hassle when youre at work, traveling, or doing everyday activities. Other unpleasant diarrhea symptoms include:

  • An urgent need to use the bathroom
  • Inability to control bowel movements
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain

But along with being annoying, severe diarrhea can dehydrate the body, leading to further health complications, such as low blood pressure or fainting.

Diarrhea comes in two forms: acute and chronic. The conditions have similar symptoms, but much different implications for patients. Acute diarrhea lasts for less than two weeks and gets better on its own. Its usually a sign of an infection, food poisoning, lactose intolerance, or gastroenteritis. Chronic diarrhea can last much longer and can be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohns disease, celiac disease, or C. difficile infection.

Most acute cases can be managed at home, but severe diarrhea warrants a visit with the doctor. Lets discuss how to manage diarrhea and the tell-tale signs of when to go see your doctor.

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Typical Appearance Of Vomit

Most vomit starts out looking like whatever it was you ate last. An orange color is expected if you are vomiting hours after eating, as food that is being digested will give vomit this hue.

If you have been vomiting repeatedly, your vomit will often become clear as all of the food has been ejected and only digestive juices remain. These characteristics do not point to serious causes, but they do not rule them out either.

When To See Your Doctor

8 Warning Signs You Should Go See a Doctor

While occasional bouts of diarrhea are common and not cause for concern, diarrhea can become dangerous if it leads to severe dehydration. It can also signal an infection or a more serious health issue.

Visit your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea that lasts more than two;days
  • Diarrhea accompanied by a fever of 102 degrees F or higher
  • Six or more loose stools in 24 hours
  • Severe, unbearable pain in the abdomen or rectum
  • Bloody stools or stools that are black and tarry or contain pus
  • Diarrhea accompanied by frequent vomiting
  • Signs of dehydration

Infants, toddlers, and young children should be taken to the doctor if they have any of these symptoms or diarrhea lasting more than 24 hours.

Older adults and people with compromised immune systems should also seek medical care if they have diarrhea.

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How Is Diarrhea Treated

In most cases, you can treat mild and uncomplicated diarrhea at home. By using an over-the-counter product like bismuth subsalicylate youll usually feel better very quickly.

However, over-the-counter medications arent always the solution. If your diarrhea is caused by an infection or parasite, youll need to see a healthcare provider for treatment. A general rule is not to use over-the-counter medications for diarrhea if you also have a fever or blood in your stool. In those cases, call your healthcare provider.

When diarrhea lasts for a long period of time , your healthcare provider will base your treatment on the cause. This could involve a few different treatment options, including:

How should I take over-the-counter medications for diarrhea?

Its important to always follow the instructions on the packaging when you take an over-the-counter medication for diarrhea. The rules for managing diarrhea in an adult are different than in children. Always call your childs healthcare provider before giving your child any type of medication for diarrhea.

A tip for managing diarrhea in an adult with over-the-counter medication includes:

  • Taking two tablespoons of Kaopectate® or two tablespoons of Pepto-Bismol® after each loose stool. Do not take more than eight doses in 24 hours.

Can Diarrhoea Be Prevented

Gastroenteritis the most common cause of diarrhoea is highly infectious, and mostly spread by contact with another person who has the illness, or from contaminated food.

These measures can help to stop the spread:

  • wash hands frequently using good handwashing technique
  • follow good food safety practices
  • if a household member has diarrhoea, they should not prepare food for the other members, and everyone should follow regular handwashing and hygiene practices
  • anyone who has diarrhoea should not visit hospitals, aged care facilities, or swimming pools
  • babies can be vaccinated against rotavirus

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When You Should Talk To Your Doctor

The CDC recommends to see your doctor if you have: High fever Blood in the stools Prolonged vomiting that prevents keeping liquids down Signs of dehydration, including a decrease in urination, a dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up.- Diarrheal illness that lasts more than 3 days.

Here are some questions you can ask a doctor or another medical professional:

  • What’s the likely cause of the symptoms? Are there other possible causes?
  • Is there a need for tests?
  • What’s the best treatment approach? Are there alternatives?
  • Is there a need for medication? If yes, is there a generic alternative to the medicine you’re prescribing?
  • How can I ease the symptoms?

Some questions the doctor may ask include:

  • Has anyone in your family or otherwise close to you developed similar symptoms? If so, did you eat the same things?
  • Have you traveled anywhere where the water or food might not be safe?
  • Are you having bloody bowel movements?
  • Do you have a fever?
  • Had you taken antibiotics in the days or weeks before your symptoms started?
  • When did symptoms begin?
  • Have the symptoms been continuous, or do they come and go?
  • What foods have you eaten in the past few days?

Ask your child’s doctor if giving your child an oral rehydration fluid is appropriate. Older adults and people with weakened immune systems might also benefit from oral rehydration solutions. Medications that help ease diarrhea generally aren’t recommended for children.

It Shouldnt Last More Than A Few Days

Should You See A Doctor For Diarrhea

gastroenterologistWhat causes diarrheaSymptoms, treatment and talking to your doctorSeth Kaufer, DO, is a gastroenterologist at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center;in Wilkes-Barre. To schedule an appointment, call 800-275-6401.

Geisinger Health Plan may refer collectively to Geisinger Health Plan, Geisinger Quality Options Inc., and Geisinger Indemnity Insurance Company, unless otherwise noted. Geisinger Gold Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and HMO D-SNP plans are offered by Geisinger Health Plan/Geisinger Indemnity Insurance Company, health plans with a Medicare contract. Continued enrollment in Geisinger Gold depends on annual contract renewal. Geisinger Health Plan Kids and Geisinger Health Plan Family are offered by Geisinger Health Plan in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services . Geisinger Health Plan is part of Geisinger, an integrated health care delivery and coverage organization.

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