Diarrhea Home > How Long Does Diarrhea Last?

Many people wonder, "How long does diarrhea last?" The answer to this question depends a great deal on what is causing the diarrhea. In most cases, diarrhea lasts one to three days; however, it can last for several months or even longer.

How Long Does Diarrhea Last?

This is not always an easy question to answer. How long diarrhea lasts will depend a lot on what is causing it. In most cases, diarrhea lasts one to three days. However, it is possible for diarrhea to last for several months or even longer.
 

Understanding Acute Versus Chronic Diarrhea

There are two types of diarrhea -- acute diarrhea and chronic diarrhea. Acute diarrhea is diarrhea that improves within two weeks.
 
There are many possible acute diarrhea causes. A few of the more common causes of acute diarrhea include:
 
  • Viral infections, such as the stomach flu
  • Bacterial infections, such as those involving Salmonella typhi or E. coli
  • Parasites, such as Giardia
  • Medicines, such as antibiotics
  • Anxiety.
     
Chronic diarrhea is diarrhea that lasts longer than two weeks.
 
There are many causes of chronic diarrhea. In fact, some of the things that cause acute diarrhea can also cause chronic diarrhea. Specific causes of chronic diarrhea include:
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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