Hide this
a man going to the toilet

Story at-a-glance -

  • According to Medical News Today, acute diarrhea is defined by world guidelines as “the presence of three or more abnormally loose or watery stools in the preceding 24 hours
  • Aside from children, seniors and people with compromised immune systems should also avoid dehydration, and make sure to treat their diarrhea immediately
 

Diarrhea Duration: When Should You Start to Worry?

| 1,374 views

Diarrhea is a common illness that will usually go away on its own after a few days. However, it can become a serious problem and cause complications if you don't address it.1

How Long Does Diarrhea Last?

There are three general classifications of diarrhea defined by how long the condition persists:2

Acute Diarrhea. This is when the illness only lasts between several hours to two weeks. According to Medical News Today, acute diarrhea is defined by world guidelines as "the presence of three or more abnormally loose or watery stools in the preceding 24 hours."3

It is usually caused by infection — bacterial, viral or parasitic.4 Medications, especially antibiotics, are another common cause of acute diarrhea, because they upset the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.5,6

Persistent Diarrhea. It is when you suffer from diarrhea for two to four weeks. The most common causes of persistent diarrhea are listed below:7,8

Infection (parasitic, bacterial or viral)

Inflammatory bowel disease

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Diverticulitis

Celiac disease

Bile acid malabsorption

Chronic pancreatitis

Surgery, such as gastrectomy

Bowel cancer

Food intolerance

Chronic Diarrhea. This is diarrhea that continues for more than four weeks, and shares the same causes with persistent diarrhea.

Diarrhea can develop into a serious problem when it is not treated promptly. In most cases, you just need to prevent dehydration by consuming plenty of pure water and other fluids, such as mineral-rich bone broth.9

Adding probiotic foods to your diet or taking a high-quality probiotic supplement can also help treat diarrhea.10,11 However, there are times when you need immediate medical attention.

When to See a Doctor

If you or your child has diarrhea and any of these signs are present, consult your physician:12

Adults Children
Signs of dehydration (thirst, dark-colored urine, dry skin, fatigue and dizziness) Signs of dehydration (dry mouth and tongue, no tears when crying, and sunken eyes and cheeks)
Diarrhea that lasts more than two days Diarrhea that lasts more than 24 hours
Severe abdominal or rectal pain A fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.9 degrees Celsius) or higher
A fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.9 degrees Celsius) or higher Stools with blood or pus
Stools with blood or pus Black and tarry stools
Black and tarry stools

Diarrhea is especially dangerous for children, as it can severely affect childhood growth and development. This illness can also lead to dehydration, which can be fatal.13 Aside from children, seniors and those with compromised immune systems should also avoid dehydration, and make sure to treat their diarrhea immediately.14

< Previous

Diarrhea During Pregnancy

Next >

Is Diarrhea Contagious?

Click Here and be the first to comment on this article

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.