When You Should Seek Help For Diarrhea

You probably made fun of it as a kid, endured it a few times when you had the flu, or perhaps even changed a few diapers when your baby was sick. Any way you experience it, diarrhea is never pleasant, but fortunately, it usually subsides after a day or two when everything that caused it is finally out of your system.

The physicians at AccuHealth Urgent Care in St. Louis want to bring some red flags to your attention so you know when you should seek help for diarrhea.

Why diarrhea happens

There are many different culprits that can upset your digestive system from time to time. Acute diarrhea is often the result of a bacterial infection or a virus. In some cases, you get diarrhea from a parasite, as is the case with food poisoning. The whole experience is quite disagreeable, but your body is usually able to combat the infection on its own, so you recover in a couple days and begin feeling like yourself again.

Chronic diarrhea may indicate a more serious health issue, such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or ulcerative colitis. Chronic diarrhea may also indicate a food allergy, as with celiac disease or, in rare situations, colon cancer. Certain medications might cause chronic diarrhea, as well.

It’s been more than two days and you have other symptoms

Typically, diarrhea resolves on its own after a day or two, but if it persists beyond that timeframe, it may be a sign of a more serious underlying health problem. Also, if you have other symptoms along with frequent diarrhea, such as a fever of 102 degrees or higher or severe abdominal or rectal pain, you should seek medical attention.

Other symptoms that indicate it’s time to seek help for diarrhea include:

Additionally, if you don’t have other symptoms but your diarrhea becomes worse after two days, seek prompt medical attention.

Signs of dehydration

Because your body rapidly eliminates fluids when you have diarrhea, it’s not uncommon to become dehydrated. Dehydration can be life-threatening, especially for infants and older adults. If you or your family members experience any of the following signs of dehydration along with diarrhea, come to AccuHealth Urgent Care right away:

If you experience these signs of dehydration while you have diarrhea, take them seriously. You may need IV fluids as quickly as possible to replace what you’ve lost.

You’ve recently traveled to a high-risk destination

If you experience diarrhea after a recent trip out of the country or anywhere in which you ate foods or drank water that your system isn’t accustomed to, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a doctor. If you inadvertently picked up a parasite or another type of infection, you may need antibiotics to fully resolved the problem.

Again, waiting to see what happens once you’ve gone beyond a two-day time period can be dangerous and lead to long-term health issues or a serious, life-threatening illness.

High-risk travel destinations include:

Your chances of getting an infection that causes diarrhea become higher if you already have a weakened immune system, diabetes, or liver disease. Just because you travel to foreign country doesn’t mean you’re at risk of getting a serious case of diarrhea, but if you do, it’s best to seek medical care sooner rather than later.

As the old adage goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. This applies to bouts of diarrhea that don’t resolve on their own. The physicians at AccuHealth Urgent Care are understanding and sympathetic to your situation and provide prompt relief and expert medical attention every day of the year.

Walk-ins are always welcome, but if you’d like to make an appointment, please call the clinic, or use the online booking system to get compassionate care for diarrhea and other symptoms.

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