What is Diarrhoea?

Diarrhoea is when you go to the bathroom more than usual, or pass loose or watery stools.Absolute diarrhoea is when you have more than five bowel movements daily. These will usually be loose or watery. Relative Diarrhoea means that you go to the toilet more than usual, or that your stools are looser than normal.Why does Diarrhoea occur?

When Diarrhoea starts suddenly, it is often due to a virus affecting the bowels. Other causes of diarrhoea include:

  • Food allergies
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Coeliac disease
  • Drinking excessive alcohol
  • Malabsorption
  • Cancer or radiation therapy
  • Too much exercise (common in runners)
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Medications (including laxatives)
  • Bacterial infection
  • Dietary issues
When should I see a PIMS Gastroenterologist?

If you or your general practitioner are concerned about your bowel habits, you should consider making an appointment with a PIMS gastroenterologist for their assessment. In general, this is not an urgent situation, however, under some circumstances, an immediate appointment is recommended:

  • Dark, tarry or bloody stools
  • Fever lasting more than 24 hours
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Severe lower abdominal pain
  • Pain in the rectum
  • Diarrhoea persisting longer than two days
  • Diarrhoea after returning from a foreign country
  • Confusion or irritability
  • A persistent headache
  • Dark urine
  • Reduced urine output


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