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Diarrhea services offered in Chesterfield, MO

Almost everyone has bouts of diarrhea every now and again. In most cases, the loose, watery stools resolve with at-home care. However, when you have ongoing or recurring diarrhea, you may have an underlying digestive condition. Gateway Gastroenterology in Chesterfield, Missouri, takes a comprehensive approach to care and can help find the root cause of your diarrhea. Call the office or request an appointment online today. 

Diarrhea Q & A

What is diarrhea?

If you have three or more loose, watery stools in one day, you have diarrhea. Almost everyone experiences diarrhea at least once a year. In most cases, diarrhea isn’t a serious health concern.

Gateway Gastroenterology classifies diarrhea as acute, persistent, or chronic.

Acute diarrhea

Most people with diarrhea have acute diarrhea, which causes loose, watery stools for a day or two. 

Persistent diarrhea

Persistent diarrhea is when you have loose, watery stools that last two to four weeks.

Chronic diarrhea

If you have ongoing diarrhea that lasts four or more weeks, or diarrhea that comes and goes over a long period, you have chronic diarrhea. 

What are some of the causes of diarrhea?

You can develop diarrhea from any number of causes. Common causes include:

  • Bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection
  • Food poisoning
  • Medication side effect
  • Stress
  • Food intolerance or sensitivity
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) 
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Diverticulitis
  • Celiac disease
  • Colon cancer
  • Malabsorption

In many cases of acute diarrhea, the cause is unknown.

When should I seek help for diarrhea?

You should seek help for diarrhea at Gateway Gastroenterology if it lasts two or more weeks or is an ongoing problem that comes and goes. You should also get help for diarrhea if you have a fever, severe pain, or blood in your stools.

Gateway Gastroenterology performs a comprehensive examination when you come in looking for help with diarrhea. Your gastroenterologist asks detailed questions about your symptoms and when they started. They also review your usual diet and medical history.

The state-of-the-art practice offers a number of diagnostic tests to determine the cause of diarrhea. In addition to blood work and stool testing, Gateway Gastroenterology offers hydrogen and methane breath testing and lactose intolerance testing. These breath tests check for food intolerances that might explain your ongoing digestive condition.

Your gastroenterologist may also recommend an upper endoscopy or colonoscopy to confirm or rule out IBD or colon cancer.

What are some of the treatments for diarrhea?

Your gastroenterologist at Gateway Gastroenterology customizes your diarrhea treatment plan based on the underlying cause. Your plan might include:

  • Diet changes
  • Antibiotic 
  • Disease-specific medication
  • Anti-diarrheal

Your gastroenterologist may also encourage fluids to rehydrate and nutritional supplements to address any nutritional deficiencies. 

Ongoing diarrhea is a symptom that benefits from an evaluation at Gateway Gastroenterology. Call or request an appointment online today.