My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Ask Your Question

WebMD Answers

120 Characters remaining
120 Characters remaining
  • First, try and keep your question as short as possible.
  • Include specific words that will help us identify questions that may already have your answer.
  • If you don't find your answer, you can post your question to WebMD Experts and Contributors.


Posted: | Report This Report Question |

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

7,995 Answers
375,702 Helpful Votes

Doctors usually define diarrhea as a significant increase in the total weight of stool passed in a single day. Most people, however, think of diarrhea as an illness during which they have more frequent, loose, watery stools.

Almost everyone has diarrhea at some point in his or her life. In developing countries, where illnesses that cause diarrhea are more common and where health care is less readily available, diarrhea is a major health concern because of its potential to cause severe, life-threatening dehydration. Infants and the elderly are more prone to dehydration from diarrhea.

Diarrhea that comes on suddenly and goes away over a period of a couple of weeks is usually referred to as "acute diarrhea." Most people with acute diarrhea recover on their own. Diarrhea that lasts more than four weeks is thought of as "chronic diarrhea." Typically, chronic diarrhea requires medical care to find the underlying cause and treat complications, such as dehydration.

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

| Report This Report Answer
Archived: March 20, 2014

Was this helpful?


Thanks for your feedback.

1079 of 1232 found this helpful
Read the Original Article: Understanding Diarrhea -- the Basics

Answers from Contributors (1)