Diarrhea

Mordecai Dicker, MD

Gastroenterologist located in Great Neck, NY

Diarrhea is a common symptom that’s usually due to a stomach upset that isn’t anything to worry about. However, if your diarrhea continues beyond a couple of days or you feel sick, you should visit Mordecai Dicker, MD, who provides expert treatment at his practice in Great Neck, New York. Dr. Dicker is a board-certified gastroenterologist with considerable expertise in treating the many causes of diarrhea, so call Dr. Dicker today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment using the online tool.

Diarrhea Q & A

What is diarrhea?

Diarrhea is a common problem that everyone experiences now and again, where your stools become loose and/or watery. Usually, diarrhea isn’t a symptom of anything serious, and it either gets better on its own within a day or two or with help from over-the-counter antidiarrheal medication.

In addition to diarrhea, you might have other symptoms, including:

  • Bloating
  • Stomach cramps
  • Difficulty holding stools
  • Nausea and vomiting

The most common causes of diarrhea are eating or drinking something that upsets your stomach like a spicy meal or an unfamiliar food and a viral infection commonly called the stomach flu. In both cases, staying hydrated by taking in plenty of fluids and resting if you’re not feeling well should take care of the problem.

Other potential causes for diarrhea include:

  • Food allergies
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Food poisoning
  • Overuse of laxatives
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Diabetes
  • Crohn's disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Some cancers
  • Medication side effects

Diarrhea can also be due to malabsorption, which means your body is unable to digest food properly.

Do I need to be concerned about diarrhea?

The main concern with diarrhea is that you could become dehydrated, which means you’re not replacing the fluids you’re losing.

Dehydration can cause serious problems, and if it’s severe, you could suffer organ failure and even death. It’s extremely important that you keep drinking when you have diarrhea and look for signs of dehydration like darker urine, less frequent urination, headaches, and excessive sleepiness.

If you’re also vomiting, you might have problems keeping enough fluids down, so you should call Dr. Dicker for advice. You should also contact him if your diarrhea keeps up for more than a few days, you have a fever above 101 degrees, you’re passing blood, or you have severe stomach pains.

How is diarrhea treated?

Dr. Dicker first needs to find out what’s causing your diarrhea so he can provide the most appropriate treatment. As well as a physical exam, he’ll need to run diagnostic tests and take a stool sample.

If you’re dehydrated, Dr. Dicker needs to rehydrate you as quickly as possible. Mild dehydration usually responds well to drinking electrolyte solutions that replace fluid and essential minerals lost when you have diarrhea. More serious dehydration might require receiving fluids through an IV tube.

If you have persistent diarrhea, severe symptoms, or signs of dehydration, call Dr. Dicker today or book an appointment online.