Diarrhea can come and go without the need for medical attention. However, if you have diarrhea that lasts longer than a few days or is a recurring problem, the team at Richmond Gastroenterology Associates recommends you schedule a consultation. Ongoing diarrhea may be a symptom of a serious condition or cause complications like dehydration. To get help for your diarrhea, call one of the offices in Richmond, Colonial Heights, Chesterfield, Henrico, or Mechanicsville, Virginia, or schedule an appointment online today.
Diarrhea describes bowel movements that are loose and watery. You can have acute, persistent, or chronic diarrhea.
With acute diarrhea, you only have loose, watery stools for a day or two. Bacterial or viral infections usually cause this type of diarrhea.
If you have diarrhea that lasts 2-4 weeks, you have persistent diarrhea. Medications and infections are common causes of persistent diarrhea.
Chronic diarrhea lasts more than four weeks. This type of diarrhea may develop from any number of causes, including severe health conditions.
No matter the type or cause, diarrhea may lead to complications like dehydration and malabsorption, which affect organ function and overall health.
You can develop diarrhea from many causes, including:
You may also develop chronic diarrhea following gastrointestinal surgery.
Because diarrhea can lead to dehydration and malabsorption, you should seek professional help if you have loose, watery stools that last longer than two days, severe abdominal pain, a fever, or blood in your stools.
You can expect a patient-centered evaluation when visiting Richmond Gastroenterology Associates for a diarrhea consultation. The team takes a comprehensive approach to care and asks detailed questions about your symptoms, usual diet, daily routine, and medical history.
They complete a physical exam and may run lab tests to confirm or rule out a diagnosis that might explain your diarrhea.
For chronic diarrhea, the team may perform a colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, or capsule endoscopy to evaluate your gastrointestinal tract to look for signs of disease.
Treatment for your diarrhea depends on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying cause. The Richmond Gastroenterology Associates team may recommend:
In most cases, you can expect improvements in your bowel habits soon after implementing treatment.
For expert diarrhea care, call Richmond Gastroenterology Associates or schedule an appointment online today.