Diarrhea (defined as loose, watery stools that occur more than three times in one day) is a common symptom. The average adult has a bout of diarrhea about four times a year. Diarrhea can last a day or two, or for months or years, depending on the particular cause. People who have it may pass more than a quart of watery stool a day.
There are two types of diarrhea: acute and chronic. Acute diarrhea, which typically improves within two weeks, can be caused by bacterial and viral infections, while chronic diarrhea, which lasts longer than two weeks, may be caused by medications and certain medical conditions.
(For more information, including a more in-depth list of possible causes, click Diarrhea. This article also covers treatment options and explains when to see your healthcare provider.)