William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Diarrhea facts
- What is diarrhea?
- How is diarrhea defined?
- Why does diarrhea develop?
- What symptoms are associated with diarrhea?
- What are common causes of acute diarrhea?
- Viral gastroenteritis
- Food poisoning
- Traveler's diarrhea
- Bacterial enterocolitis
- What are common causes of chronic diarrhea?
- What are the complications of diarrhea?
- When should the doctor be called for diarrhea?
- What tests are useful in the evaluation of diarrhea?
- How can dehydration be prevented and treated?
- What is the treatment for diarrhea?
- When should antibiotics be used for diarrhea?
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
When should the doctor be called for diarrhea?
Most episodes of diarrhea are mild and of short duration and do not need to be brought to the attention of a doctor. The doctor should be consulted when there is:
- High fever (temperature greater than 101 F or 38.3 C
- Moderate or severe abdominal pain or tenderness
- Bloody diarrhea that suggests severe intestinal inflammation
- Diarrhea in persons with serious underlying illness for whom dehydration may have more serious consequences, for example, persons with diabetes, heart disease, and AIDS
- Severe diarrhea that shows no improvement after 48 hours.
- Moderate or severe dehydration
- Prolonged vomiting that prevents intake of fluids orally
- Acute diarrhea in pregnant women because of concern for the health of the fetus
- Diarrhea that occurs during or immediately after completing a course of antibiotics because the diarrhea may represent antibiotic-associated infection with C. difficile that requires treatment
- Diarrhea after returning from developing countries or from camping in the mountains because there may be infection with Giardia (for which there is treatment)
- Diarrhea that develops in patients with chronic intestinal diseases such as colitis, or Crohn's disease because the diarrhea may represent worsening of the underlying disease or a complication of the disease, both requiring treatment
- Acute diarrhea in an infant or young child in order to ensure the appropriate use of oral liquids (type, amount, and rate), to prevent or treat dehydration, and to prevent complications of inappropriate use of liquids such as seizures and abnormal blood electrolytes
- Chronic diarrhea
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