ABC Medical Center > Diarrhea

What is Diarrhea?

21:54 - 4 May , 2021


It is a condition in which the stool is loose or liquid, causing more than three bowel movements a day, and can be acute or chronic.

Acute diarrhea is the most common and usually occurs for a restricted period of two or three days, disappearing on its own without major setbacks; while chronic diarrhea usually lasts about four weeks, and may be a sign of some underlying disease. 

There are a number of things that can cause diarrhea, such as:

  • Colon disorders.
  • Bacteria or parasites present in contaminated food or water.
  • Various gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Intake of antibiotics, anticancer drugs, and antacids.
  • Intolerance and sensitivity to certain substances and foods. 
  • Various viruses.
  • Difficulty digesting certain types of food. 

Signs and symptoms Diarrhea

  • Loose and liquid stools.
  • Abdominal pain and spasms.
  • Chills.
  • High fever.
  • Blood and mucus in the stool.
  • Inflammation.
  • Urge to have a bowel movement and loss of bowel control. 
  • Nausea.

With diarrhea it is likely to become dehydrated due to numerous bowel movements, posing a risk of major complications, especially in children, older adults, and individuals with a depressed immune system. 

If you have the following symptoms, do not put your life at risk, see your doctor immediately:

  • Severe dehydration.
  • Severe diarrhea for more than three days.
  • Severe pain in the abdomen and rectum.
  • Temperature higher than 38ºC.
  • Bloody, pus-filled, or black stools.

If your baby has diarrhea, go to your pediatrician as soon as possible to receive professional assistance, since this disease is usually delicate in newborns and infants.

Diagnosis and treatment Diarrhea

Your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history, as well as perform a physical examination. He or she will ask about any medications you have taken and order a stool and a blood test to look for bacteria, parasites, or other signs of infection.

In the event that you have chronic diarrhea, your doctor will require other tests to find the cause through endoscopic procedures. 

Treatment will depend on the cause of diarrhea, but the first step will be to replace the fluids and electrolytes you lost to prevent dehydration. 

Once your doctor knows the source of your diarrhea, he or she will prescribe medications to control your bowel movements and treat the infection. You should drink plenty of fluids and consume broths. As soon as the symptoms improve, you can follow a soft diet without fats and condiments.


Rotavirus diarrhea can be prevented through a controlled vaccination schedule, and in the case of traveler’s diarrhea, you should watch what you eat and drink, here are some recommendations:

  • Only use bottled water to drink and brush your teeth.
  • Avoid eating unpeeled fruits and raw vegetables.
  • Make sure that the food you eat is well cooked and avoid eating on the street or in places of questionable hygiene.

In ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


  • niddk.nih.gov
  • actagastro.org
  • mayoclinic.org
  • medlinesplus.gov
  • aeped.es
  • medigraphic.com
  • Vargas HMP, Boschini PM, Ulloa VLF. Diarreas congénitas: entidades olvidadas. Revista Médica Sinergia. 2021;6(08):1-13.
  • Paredes MCV, Rojas COJ, Palacios AD, et al. Colitis eosinofílica en atención primaria: a propósito de un caso de diarrea crónica. Aten Fam. 2021;28(3):217-220.
  • Figueredo GLI, Figueredo GCR, Otero FMJ, et al. Factores que influyen en la variabilidad de diarreas por parásitos. Policlínico ”13 de Marzo”. 2018-2019. Mul Med. 2021;225(1):.
  • Reyes-Gómez U, Santos-Calderón LA, Reyes-Hernández KL, et al. Diarrea del viajero (DV). Bol Clin Hosp Infant Edo Son. 2019;36(2):80-87.

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