What is Diarrhea?

We don’t like to think about it. But, everyone has had a loose, watery bowel movement at some point in their life. However, many are unaware of diarrhea’s medical definition. It refers to bowel movements like these that occur more than three times a day. The average adult experience this about four times a year. But the issue usually resolves itself without treatment.

Because of the large volume of fluid lost, this symptom can lead to dehydration. This is especially dangerous for children and the elderly. However, anyone who experiences it should increase their fluid intake. People in high-risk categories should seek medical attention to avoid dangerous problems.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a prolonged bout of diarrhea, contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tabib today. As a top gastroenterologist in Los Angeles, he can treat any underlying causes of this problem. Furthermore, he can give you the care you need to avoid possible complications.

Causes of Diarrhea

The causes of loose stool can be temporary or chronic. A variety of microscopic triggers can turn a lovely day into one spent in the restroom. Some common culprits include:

What Causes These Conditions

Although anyone can suffer from diarrhea, certain groups are more at risk. The most vulnerable group includes women and people over 65.

The condition may also occur following surgery on the stomach or gallbladder. People visiting foreign countries also are at risk. All it takes is ingesting contaminated food or water a single time. Developing nations may prove riskier for this than fully modernized cities.

Symptoms of Diarrhea

Many people are familiar with the traditional symptoms of diarrhea.
There are the frequent, watery bowel movements. Or you could have generally loose stool. However, there are a few other symptoms to look out for. They can range from mild to severe, with dehydration often being the highest concern. You may also experience:

  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Bloody Stools

Your symptoms will depend mainly on the underlying cause of your condition. Patients with bowel disorders usually have diarrhea lasting longer than four weeks. In these cases, you may need a more thorough treatment plan.


Dehydration is a serious concern. The human body relies on water for every function. It is vital to refill your fluids and electrolytes regularly if you develop these symptoms. Also, you should look out for the general signs of dehydration:

  • Thirst
  • Light-Headedness
  • Dry Skin
  • Fatigue
  • Dark-Colored Urine
  • Less Frequent Urination

In severe cases, dehydration may require hospitalization. Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect that your child is dehydrated. Losing fluids is a serious concern.

Treatment for Diarrhea

Though dehydration is dangerous, it often can be treated easily. In most cases, replacing lost fluid is the only treatment needed. Keeping fluids in can be difficult, so we may provide fluids through an IV. Many of the common causes of diarrhea resolve on their own, otherwise.

Antidiarrheal medications are used in some rare cases. But this can be counterproductive when the cause is a bacterial infection or parasite. When this happens, it is because your body attempts to flush out these organisms. Unfortunately, it also flushes out crucial liquids.

In addition to dehydration, you should see a doctor about your case if you have:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • A fever of 102 or higher
  • Bloody or black stool

Preventative Measures

First, we suggest avoiding foods that irritate your condition. These may include dairy, greasy foods, fiber, and sweets. As you begin to feel better, you can add some foods to your diet. Examples include:

  • Bananas
  • Plain rice
  • Toast
  • Crackers
  • Cooked carrots
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Baked chicken

If you are abroad in a developing country, you can take some easy steps to avoid traveler’s diarrhea:

  • Avoid raw or unpasteurized foods/drinks
  • Don’t drink tap water (including ice made from tap water)
  • Avoid food from street vendors

We understand that these items can be part of the travel experience. And, not every street vendor could result in diarrhea. However, these are simply measures to avoid the risk.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Today, gastroenterology conditions can be treated effectively. Conditions like diarrhea once were life-threatening. Now, all you need is a specialist with experience and expertise. In many cases, simple lifestyle changes will be enough to ease your symptoms. And, sometimes, the signs will go away on their own. However, if you are experiencing severe symptoms, schedule an appointment today.

We provide everyone a personalized gastroenterology treatment plan to meet your unique needs and improve your quality of life. Contact us to schedule a consolation with a top specialist. Dr. Tabib is here to provide his years of experience to improve your health.

Dr. Tabib’s completed his postgraduate fellowship, residency, and internships at the UCLA/Cedar-Sinai Medical Center.

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Siamak Tabib, M.D., Inc.
8631 W 3rd St Suite 1015E,
Los Angeles, CA 90048

(310) 683-4911

    Voted Best Gastroenterologist in Los Angeles


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