Diarrhea can be described as an abnormal increase in the frequency, volume or liquidity of your stools. The condition usually lasts a few hours to a couple of days. Diarrhea is typically associated with abdominal cramps. The most common causes of the condition are viruses, bacteria and parasites.
Our Approach to Diarrhea
Most cases of diarrhea go away on their own, and the only treatment needed is to drink enough fluids and replace lost electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, to prevent dehydration. A doctor can help determine whether you need additional care, such as medications to treat an underlying bacterial or viral infection.
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UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.