Diarrhea affects nearly 179 million people every year in the United States. In most cases, diarrhea is an acute issue that resolves within a few days. However, persistent or chronic diarrhea may be signs of a more serious problem. The gastroenterology specialists at Desert Valley Gastroenterology in Mesa, Arizona, provide comprehensive evaluations to determine the cause of your diarrhea and develop a treatment plan that offers the best outcome. To get the answers you’ve been searching for, contact the office by phone to schedule a consultation.
Diarrhea is medically defined as having three or more loose, watery stools in one day. Your diarrhea may be:
Most people with loose, watery stools experience acute diarrhea, which generally lasts only 1-2 days and resolves on its own. A viral, bacterial, or parasitic infection is usually the cause of acute diarrhea.
Persistent diarrhea is when your diarrhea lasts 2-4 weeks. Like acute diarrhea, persistent diarrhea is most often caused by an infection. Medication can also lead to persistent diarrhea.
Diarrhea that lasts longer than four weeks is considered chronic diarrhea. This includes ongoing symptoms, as well as diarrhea that comes and goes. Chronic diarrhea can develop from many causes, including infection, food allergy or intolerance, side effects of gastrointestinal surgery, or an underlying gastrointestinal condition such as Crohn’s disease.
Your loose, watery stools may also lead to other health issues, such as dehydration or malabsorption.
The experienced team at Desert Valley Gastroenterology conducts comprehensive evaluations when you come in with concerns about diarrhea. Your evaluation aims to determine the correct diagnosis so you get the most effective treatment.
The team reviews your symptoms, medical history, and diet during your evaluation. They also perform a physical exam.
Based on the information gathered during your evaluation, the team determines the diagnostic tests, if any, you may need to confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis, such as:
If the team suspects your symptoms are due to food intolerance, then they may recommend a fasting test. During this test, you’re given a list of foods to eliminate from your diet for a set period. Then, you reintroduce each food one at a time to find the source of gastrointestinal symptoms.
Treatment for your diarrhea may depend on the underlying cause of your symptoms. The team at Desert Valley Gastroenterology develops personalized treatment plans to relieve your symptoms and prevent health complications. Your treatment plan may include:
The team may also talk to you about your fluid needs to reduce the risk of dehydration.
To understand the underlying cause of your diarrhea, contact Desert Valley Gastroenterology by phone to schedule an appointment.