What is Diarrhea? Its Causes and Symptoms

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Diarrhea is when your bowel movements become loose or watery. The definition of loose motion is passing loose or watery bowel movements 3 or more times in a day (or more frequently than usual).


Diarrhea may have many causes including the following.

  • Infection (with a virus, bacteria or parasite). Infectious diarrhea is most commonly caused by viruses passed from person to person, or by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with viruses, bacteria — such as Salmonella, or a parasite — such as Cryptosporidium.
  • A change in diet.
  • Food intolerance (e.g. lactose intolerance). Some people have diarrhea after eating foods containing fructose (a type of sugar) or artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol and mannitol.
  • Drinking excess alcohol.
  • Bowel conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease), coeliac disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • Malabsorption (e.g. due to problems with the pancreas).
  • Surgery (e.g. when part of the bowel has been removed).
  • Some medicines can cause diarrhea as a side effect. Antibiotics are a common example. They can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your gut, which can lead to diarrhea. Other examples of medicines that can cause diarrhea include some antacids and diabetes tablets.

Loose motion in very young children is due to viral infections. Rota virus infection is common cause. Many other viruses still commonly cause diarrhea in infants and toddlers.


Loose motion refers to watery stools, symptoms, include:

  • stomach pain
  • Frequent loose, watery stools
  • abdominal cramps
  • bloating
  • weight loss
  • fever
  • body aches
  • chills
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness 

Watery stools is also a symptom of other conditions, some of which can be serious. Other possible symptoms are:

  • Blood or pus in the stool
  • persistent vomiting
  • dehydration

If any of these accompany watery stools, or if the motion is chronic, it may indicate a more serious illness.

Sajid Saleem

Sajid Saleem

We struggle over for students of general and medical education. Also, we play an essential role in the acquisitions of knowledge and in intellectual development. In general Education we provide the knowledge and the skills needed by everyone, regardless of their future field and occupation. In medical Education we provide knowledge and skills to the students of medical field. A Nutritionist from our team who is expert in food and nutrition can help patients to choose the right things to eat. He is also writing very helpful content for the students of nutrition and diet.