Diarrhea, or the frequent passes of watery feces, can come in two types. The first one is acute diarrhea, which is a sudden onset of three or more stools a day. It lasts less than two weeks. Acute diarrhea is caused by an infection, for example, food poisoning or gastroenteritis. Viruses irritate the intestinal lining, which starts absorbing water from waste. Acute diarrhea resolves in several weeks. The second type – chronic diarrhea – lasts for many weeks and can be caused by many conditions.
Diarrhea can be excruciatingly embarrassing however, it should never be ignored.
The symptoms of diarrhea can range from a brief upset stomach to extremely watery feces. The most common symptom is an urgent need to go to the bathroom. If you suffer diarrhea for over two weeks, you should be investigated by a general practitioner – especially if you have blood in feces. This can be a sign of serious conditions, such as Crohn’s disease.