Diarrhea Specialist

Triborough GI

Gastroenterology located in Brooklyn, NY, Bronx, NY & Staten Island, NY

The abdominal pain and frequent trips to the bathroom caused by diarrhea are usually short-lived or controlled with over-the-counter medications. But when your diarrhea lasts longer than a week, it’s a sign you have an underlying condition that needs treatment from the experts at Triborough GI. To schedule an appointment for severe or ongoing diarrhea, use the online booking form or call one of the offices in Brooklyn, the Bronx, or Staten Island, New York.

Diarrhea Q&A

What causes diarrhea?

You have diarrhea when your stool is watery or loose. In most cases, you also need to go to the bathroom more frequently than normal. Diarrhea may be caused by many possible problems, including:

  • Bacterial infection
  • Intestinal virus
  • Food intolerance or allergy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Functional bowel disorder
  • Metabolic conditions, like thyroid disorders
  • Reaction to medications, especially antibiotics

Acute diarrhea, which lasts one week or less, may be caused by excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption, stress, stomach infection, medications, or foods that were slightly tainted with bacteria.

When your diarrhea lasts longer than a week or two, you have chronic diarrhea. This is a sign that you have an underlying health condition.

What symptoms develop when I have diarrhea?

Anyone who has ever had diarrhea has probably also suffered through its other common symptoms:

  • Cramps and stomach pain
  • Bloating
  • Excessive thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Fecal incontinence

In severe cases of diarrhea, or if you have hemorrhoids, you may see blood in your stool.

How is diarrhea treated?

Treatment for diarrhea is based on the underlying cause. A mild case of acute diarrhea is treated by replacing fluids and taking over-the-counter antidiarrheal medication. If you’re diagnosed with a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

It’s essential to stay hydrated because your body loses a lot of water when you have diarrhea. Dehydration is a potentially serious complication of diarrhea, so be aware of its symptoms:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Not urinating as often as normal
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Dry skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Headaches
  • Rapid heart rate

In most cases of acute diarrhea, you only need to drink water to stay well-hydrated. If your diarrhea is severe or chronic, however, talk to your doctor at Triborough GI about the best way to replenish electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium.

Your doctor may order diagnostic tests to identify the underlying cause of chronic diarrhea. Examples of tests used to get to the source of your problem include:

  • Stool studies to look for bacteria
  • Sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to examine the lining of your large intestine
  • Imaging tests to look for structural abnormalities
  • Blood tests to see if you have metabolic problems, like thyroid disease

You may also need to have testing to determine whether you have a food intolerance or allergy. After the underlying condition is diagnosed, you’ll receive the best treatment for that specific problem.

If you have questions about diarrhea or you develop chronic diarrhea, call Triborough GI or schedule an appointment online.