When to Worry: How Long does Diarrhoea Last? 

Health Insurance Plans Starts at Rs.44/day*

Introduction

Diarrhoea is a condition that causes frequent and loose bowel movements. It can be a common and usually harmless occurrence, but it can also be a sign of a more serious problem. 

Diarrhoea can have many causes, such as infections, food intolerances, medications, or diseases. Diarrhoea can also lead to dehydration, which can be dangerous if not treated. 

Diarrhoea usually lasts for 1 to 2 days, but it can sometimes last up to 2 weeks. However, this type of Diarrhoea is usually mild and resolves on its own. Diarrhoea that lasts longer than 2 weeks may be a sign of a more serious problem, such as an infection, a chronic condition or a food allergy. 

What is Diarrhoea? 

Diarrhoea is a term that describes loose, watery stools that occur more often than usual. Normally, the stools are solid and formed, but when the intestines absorb too much water or secrete too much fluid, the stools become liquid and frequent.

Diarrhoea can have many causes, such as infections, food intolerances, medications, or diseases. Diarrhoea can also lead to dehydration, which can be dangerous if not treated.

Diarrhoea is a common and usually harmless occurrence, but it can also be a sign of a more serious problem. If you have Diarrhoea, you should drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. You should also avoid foods that can worsen your condition, such as dairy products, greasy or spicy foods, alcohol, or caffeine.  

Causes of Diarrhoea  

Diarrhoea can be caused by a variety of factors, including food poisoning, viruses, bacteria and parasites. These factors can affect the normal functioning of the digestive system and cause inflammation, irritation or infection in the intestines. This can result in loose, watery stools that occur more often than usual. 

Some of the common causes of Diarrhoea are: 

Food poisoning

This is a type of Diarrhoea that occurs when people eat food that is contaminated with harmful microorganisms, such as Salmonella, E. coli, or Campylobacter. Food poisoning can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and fever, along with Diarrhoea. 

Viruses

Some viruses can cause Diarrhoea by infecting the cells that line the intestines. Examples of viral infections that can cause Diarrhoea are norovirus, rotavirus and coronavirus. 

Bacteria

Some bacteria can cause Diarrhoea by producing toxins that damage the intestinal lining or by invading the intestinal wall and causing inflammation. Examples of bacterial infections that can cause Diarrhoea are cholera, typhoid fever and shigella. 

Parasites

Some parasites can cause Diarrhoea by attaching to the intestinal wall and feeding on the nutrients or blood. Examples of parasitic infections that can cause Diarrhoea are giardia, cryptosporidium, and amoeba. 

How long should Diarrhoea last?

Diarrhoea that lasts longer than 2 days may be a sign of a more serious problem. This means that the Diarrhoea is not resolving on its own and may be caused by a more severe infection, a chronic condition, or a food allergy.  

Diarrhoea that lasts longer than 2 days can also increase the risk of dehydration, which can be dangerous if not treated. 

Some of the possible causes of Diarrhoea that lasts longer than 2 days are: 

Infections

Viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections can cause persistent Diarrhoea. These infections can enter the body through contaminated food, water, or contact with infected people or animals. 

Traveler’s Diarrhoea

This is a type of Diarrhoea that occurs when people travel to countries with poor sanitation and consume food or water contaminated with viruses, bacteria, or parasites.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

This is a group of chronic conditions that cause inflammation in the digestive tract. Examples of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. People with IBD may experience Diarrhoea, abdominal pain, bleeding, weight loss and fatigue.

When should you worry about Diarrhoea?

You can worry about diarrhoea in the following circumstances: 

Blood in the stool

This can indicate bleeding in the digestive tract, which can be caused by infections, ulcers, polyps, or cancer. Blood in the stool can appear as red, black or tarry stools.

Fever

This can indicate an infection or inflammation in the body, which can be caused by viruses, bacteria or parasites. Fever can also cause dehydration and weakness.

Severe abdominal pain

This can indicate a serious problem in the abdomen, such as appendicitis, diverticulitis, bowel obstruction, or perforation. Severe abdominal pain can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, bloating or constipation. 

Dehydration

This can occur when you lose more fluids and electrolytes than you take in. Dehydration can cause dry mouth, thirst, dizziness, headache, fatigue, or reduced urination. Dehydration can also affect your blood pressure, heart rate and kidney function. 

Weight loss

This can occur when you lose more calories than you consume. Weight loss can be caused by malabsorption, malnutrition or loss of appetite due to Diarrhoea. Weight loss can also affect your immune system, muscle mass and bone density. 

What to do if you have Diarrhoea?

Some general tips on how to manage Diarrhoea are: 

Drinking plenty of fluids

This can help prevent dehydration, which can be dangerous if not treated. You should drink water, clear broth, or oral rehydration solutions that contain electrolytes and minerals. You should avoid drinks that can worsen your condition, such as alcohol, caffeine, or sugary drinks. 

Eating bland foods

This can help ease your stomach and intestines. You should eat foods that are easy to digest, such as bananas, rice, applesauce, or toast. These foods are also known as the BRAT diet. You should avoid foods that can irritate your digestive system, such as dairy products, greasy or spicy foods, or high-fiber foods. 

Taking over-the-counter medications to help control symptoms:

This can help reduce the frequency and severity of your Diarrhoea. You can take anti-Diarrhoeal medications, such as loperamide or bismuth subsalicylate, to slow down your bowel movements and make your stools firmer.  

When to see a doctor? 

You should see a doctor if you have Diarrhoea that lasts longer than 2 days or if you have any of the other concerning symptoms listed above. These symptoms may indicate a more serious problem that requires medical attention and treatment. The doctor may perform some tests to find out the cause of your Diarrhoea and prescribe the appropriate medication or therapy. 

Conclusion

Diarrhoea is a condition that causes frequent and loose bowel movements. It can be a common and usually harmless occurrence, but it can also be a sign of a more serious problem. 

If you have diarrhoea, you should drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. You should also avoid foods that can worsen your condition, such as dairy products, greasy or spicy foods, alcohol, or caffeine. 

Depending on the cause of your Diarrhoea, you may need to see a doctor for treatment. Some cases of Diarrhoea may resolve on their own, but others may require antibiotics, anti-Diarrhoeal medications, or intravenous fluids. You should seek medical attention if you have any of the mentioned signs. 

FAQ’s

What is Diarrhoea? 

Diarrhoea is loose, watery stools that occur more often than usual. 

How long should Diarrhoea last? 

Diarrhoea usually lasts for 1-2 days, but it can sometimes last up to 2 weeks. 

What are the signs that Diarrhoea may be something more serious?

Diarrhoea may be something more serious if you have severe abdominal pain, high fever, bloody or black stools, signs of dehydration, or Diarrhoea that lasts longer than 2 weeks. 

What can I do to help relieve Diarrhoea?

To help relieve Diarrhoea, you can drink plenty of fluids, eat bland foods, and take over-the-counter medications to control symptoms. 

When should I see a doctor about Diarrhoea?  

You should see a doctor about Diarrhoea if you have any of the signs that it may be something more serious or if it does not improve within 2 days. 


DISCLAIMER: THIS BLOG/WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE

The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

Scroll to Top