Diarrhea is characterized by loose, watery stools that occur more frequently than usual. Diarrhea is something everyone experiences, and usually isn’t cause for alarm. When diarrhea becomes persistent, it can be a sign of a serious disorder, such as inflammatory bowel disease, or a less serious condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Constipation is characterized by infrequent or difficult bowel movements. Occasional constipation is very common, and shouldn’t cause too much concern. Chronic constipation can interfere with your daily life and it can be a symptom of a more serious disorder.
Diarrhea signs and symptoms may include:
See your doctor if:
In children, diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration. It’s advised that you contact a doctor if your child’s diarrhea doesn’t improve after a day or if they:
Constipation symptoms and signs of chronic constipation include:
Contact your doctor if constipation persists.
Diarrhea can be caused by a number of conditions. Common causes include:
Constipation can be caused by a number of conditions. Common causes include:
Diarrhea usually clears up within a couple of days without treatment. If it doesn’t clear up on its own or with the help of lifestyle changes, your doctor may recommend other treatments.
Other treatments include:
Treatment for chronic constipation usually involves diet and lifestyle changes. It can also involve the use of over-the-counter and prescription medications and supplements.
Lifestyle changes include:
Medications and supplements include: