Stuart I. Finkel, MD -  - Board Certified Gastroenterologist

NY Gastroenterology & Digestive Disorders

Stuart I. Finkel, MD

Board Certified Gastroenterologist & Internist located in Upper East Side, New York, NY

While it’s often just an unpleasant inconvenience, diarrhea can actually be dangerous to your health as whether due to its severity or because it’s a sign of a deeper issue, there are many reasons you may want to seek medical attention for diarrhea. At NY Gastroenterology & Digestive Disorders in Upper East Side, New York City, Stuart Finkel, MD, and his team provide a comfortable environment and top-quality medical expertise to solve whatever is causing your stomach problems. Call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

Diarrhea Q & A

What causes diarrhea?

Unpleasant though it is, everyone experiences occasional bouts of diarrhea. While isolated instances can be caused by an unbalanced diet or high stress, severe or prolonged diarrhea is often a sign of something more problematic.

Common causes of diarrhea include:

  • Viruses like the Norwalk virus, viral hepatitis, or rotavirus
  • Bacterial infections like salmonella or E. coli
  • Parasites ingested in food or water like Giardia lamblia
  • Lactose intolerance, which is when your body is unable to process dairy
  • Digestive diseases like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and ulcerative colitis (UC)

Any of these conditions can cause problems much more dangerous than diarrhea, so if your symptoms are prolonged or severe, schedule an appointment with Dr. Finkel.

When should I see a doctor for my diarrhea?

Since most people have experienced diarrhea before, and because they’d frankly rather not talk to anyone about it, they can be reluctant to seek medical attention even if their symptoms do not improve over time. But trying to wait out severe diarrhea can be dangerous.

You should schedule an appointment to see Dr. Finkel if your diarrhea:

  • Lasts more than 2 days
  • Is bloody or black
  • Comes with severe pain in your stomach or rectum
  • Comes with a fever over 102 degrees

These can be signs of infection, internal bleeding or other serious conditions, and if you experience any of them you should contact NY Gastroenterology & Digestive Disorders as soon as possible.

Can diarrhea be dangerous by itself?

Diarrhea can be dangerous due to the high risk of dehydration, especially in children. Dehydration is a very real threat when dealing with prolonged diarrhea, caused by the body’s inability to replace fluids lost through frequent bowel movements.

Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Extremely thirst
  • Feeling faint, dizzy, or weak
  • Not needing to urinate for long periods of time, or noticing darker urine than usual
  • Chronic dry mouth or dry skin

Children can have their own symptoms if they have dehydration as a result of diarrhea. Keep an eye out for signs such as:

  • Going long periods without urinating
  • A fever above 102 degrees
  • Crying without tears
  • A sunken or hollow appearance to their abdomen and cheeks
  • Drowsiness and irritability

Even when dealing with sporadic diarrhea that everyone gets occasionally, it’s very important to stay hydrated, but when dealing with severe or prolonged diarrhea, it can be lifesaving. And with children, the margin for error is smaller, so quick medical attention is very important.

If you need treatment for diarrhea or another digestive problem, call or make an appointment online at NY Gastroenterology & Digestive Disorders today.