Diarrhea is an increase in the wateriness, volume, or frequency of bowel movements. When you have diarrhea, foods and fluid pass too quickly, or in too large an amount through your colon, and your body does not absorb the fluid. Almost everyone has an episode of diarrhea at some time.

Acute diarrhea is uncomfortable, but usually is not serious and will go away in a few days on its own. You should see a doctor, however, if your stool contains blood, if the diarrhea is severe, or if it lasts more than a few days. Children and elderly people are at higher risk of dehydration and should see their doctor sooner.

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Review Date: 4/1/2016  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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