What are the common symptoms of diarrhea?
In addition to loose, watery stools, diarrhea is accompanied with symptoms that you need to be able to recognize, to judge and see how severe your condition is. Diarrhea is usually temporary and does not last more than a few days. However, it can happen for weeks, which may indicate a more serious issue. Thus, it is important to identify the symptoms, so that you can go to a doctor whenever possible.
The most common symptoms
Diarrhea can be recognized through its several and urgent trips to the toilet, in a short span of time. Your stools are soft and/or watery and you go to the toilet two or more times a day. You recognize it by the following symptoms:
- Loose, thin, or watery stools
- Frequent and an urgent desire to go to the toilet
- Cramps and abdominal pain
You may also experience the following symptoms, which point out a more serious condition:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Blood or mucus in the stools
- Weight loss
- Dizziness and vertigo
When to see a doctor?
Symptoms that should tip you off are slightly different, depending on your age. The major problem related to diarrhea is often dehydration. If your stools are watery, you go to the toilet more than three times a day, and you don't drink enough fluids, you can quickly get dehydrated.
If you’re an adult, go see a doctor if:
- Your diarrhea carries on for more than a few days
- You become dehydrated (dark urine, smaller amounts of urine, rapid heart rate, headache, dry skin, confusion)
- You have severe abdominal or rectal pain
- You have bloody or black stools
- You have a fever of more than 39 °C
For children, go see a doctor if:
- If your child's diarrhea does not improve within 24 hours
- If your child is dehydrated (drier diapers than usual for example)
- If your child’s fever is higher than 39 °C
- If the stools are bloody or black, It is important to know and recognize the most serious symptoms, especially in children and the elderly, as they can be quickly dehydrated.