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Diarrhea Symptoms

Can "Symptoms of Diarrhea" Be Serious?

Although usually not harmful, diarrhea can become dangerous or signal a more serious problem.
You should see the doctor if any of the following is true:
  • You have had diarrhea for more than three days
  • You have severe pain in the abdomen or rectum
  • You have a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • You see blood in your stool or have black, tarry stools
  • You have signs of dehydration (see below).
If your child has diarrhea, do not hesitate to call the healthcare provider for advice. Diarrhea can be dangerous in children if too much fluid is lost and not replaced quickly.
Take your child to the doctor if any of the following symptoms appear (This is especially important if your child is six months old or younger):
  • Stools containing blood, mucus, or pus
  • Temperature above 101.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Watery diarrhea with repeated vomiting
  • You child starts acting very sick
  • The diarrhea is severe (more than eight bowel movements in eight hours)
  • No improvement after 24 hours
  • Signs of dehydration.
(Click Diarrhea in Children for more information.)

Short-Term Versus Long-Term Diarrhea

Diarrhea can be either acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Acute diarrhea, which lasts less than two weeks, is usually related to a bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection. Chronic diarrhea lasts more than two weeks and is usually related to functional disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis
(Click Diarrhea Causes for more information on specific causes of acute and chronic diarrhea)

Diarrhea Information

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