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How can diarrhea harm your health?

Diarrhea is frequent loose bowel movements (4 to 6/day) or when stool is 60 to 90 % water. Diarrhea results mainly from fecal water, which can have infectious, drug induced, food-related, or mal-absorptive causes. Theses causes produce diarrhea by 4 distinct mechanisms, increased osmotic load, increased secretion, inflammation and decreased absorption time. Complications can result from diarrhea of any etiology. Fluid loss with consequent dehydration, electrolyte loss (Na, K, Mg, Cl), and even vascular collapse sometimes occur. Supportive care for acute diarrhea consists primarily of providing adequate oral  (or rarely IV) rehydration. Diarrhea with anorexia, vomiting, weight loss, or passage of blood is of concern and patient should seek medical care for evaluation and treatment.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.