Understand diarrhoea, and its causes and symptoms.



Diarrhoea is when you have frequent passage of loose watery stools. There are two types of diarrhoea, acute diarrhoea that comes on suddenly and is usually short-lived, lasting for just a few days; and chronic diarrhoea lasts for an extended period, typically more than two weeks.


The most common cause of acute diarrhoea is the stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis). It is also caused by bacterial infections (such as E. coli or Salmonella), parasites, or food poisoning.

Chronic diarrhoea on the other hand, may be a symptom of underlying conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), malabsorption disorders, celiac disease or even anxiety.


Common symptoms of diarrhoea to look out for are:

  • Loose, watery stool (poo)
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Bloating
  • Strong, sudden urge to have a bowel movement
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Blood or mucus in the stool

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