Not only can diarrhea that lasts more than a few days be uncomfortable and disruptive, it might also be a sign of a more serious condition. New Yorkers with severe or ongoing diarrhea can seek treatment at the office of William E. Pullano, MD, an experienced gastroenterologist and internal medicine physician. Call or make an appointment online at Dr. Pullano’s comfortable Upper East Side office to seek treatment for diarrhea, as well as a comprehensive evaluation for other possible underlying causes.
Diarrhea is an increase in the frequency of your bowel movements or looseness of your stool. These can occur independently of each other, but they most commonly occur together. If your stool is liquid or watery, this is always considered diarrhea. The looseness of the stool is caused by increased water in the stool during the digestion process.
There are two types of diarrhea: acute and chronic. Acute diarrhea lasts from a few days to maybe a week. Chronic diarrhea usually lasts more than three weeks, but not necessarily continuously. The type of diarrhea you have will help determine the cause, and it will require different diagnostic tests and treatment.
The most common cause of acute diarrhea is infection, due to a virus, bacteria, or parasite. This happens in the case of food poisoning or infection from contact with contaminated food or water. Acute diarrhea is often accompanied by cramps or nausea. Acute diarrhea can also result from starting a new medication.
Chronic diarrhea is usually the result of a noninfectious condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), an inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s disease or colitis), endocrine conditions (such as overactive thyroid), absorption malfunctions, and cancer.
Acute diarrhea usually resolves on its own over time. However, Dr. Pullano recommends the “brat” diet: banana, rice, applesauce, and toast. These foods are generally easy to digest during a bout of diarrhea. Patients should avoid dairy products and acidic foods. Dehydration is a common side effect of diarrhea, so be sure to increase your fluid intake.
In the case of chronic diarrhea, Dr. Pullano needs to conduct a full evaluation to determine the cause, and he’ll develop a treatment plan based on the diagnosis.
You should seek medical attention for your diarrhea if you also have:
Diarrhea is common and most people can treat it on their own, but some cases of diarrhea require the professional expertise of an experienced gastroenterologist like Dr. Pullano to diagnose and treat it effectively. Call or schedule an appointment online for a consultation at his Upper East Side office in Manhattan to get relief from chronic, painful, or concerning diarrhea.