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Vikram S. Jayanty, M.D. PA
10837 Katy Freeway, Suite 175
Houston, TX 77079
(713) 932-9200
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Posts for: November, 2014

By Vikram S. Jayanty
November 24, 2014
Category: Health
Tags: diarrhea  

While this might not exactly be a conversation to have at the dinner table, if you’ve been dealing with diarrhea for a while now then it’s certainly time to have that conversation with your doctor. You most certainly want to figure out what’s causing this annoying problem. Usually this problem is due to a virus within the gut that lasts only a couple of days. This infection is often nicknamed the “stomach flu” (even though it has nothing to do with the influenza virus). However, there are other factors that can also cause diarrhea:

  • Bacterial infections (this causes the majority of food poisoning)
  • Being infected by other organisms or parasites
  • Foods that irritate your digestive tract (e.g., fried or spicy foods)
  • Food allergies
  • Certain medications (e.g. antibiotics, antidepressants)
  • Intestinal diseases (e.g. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Certain cancers (e.g. colon cancer, lymphoma)

How do you treat diarrhea?

Most mild cases will clear up on its own; however, you could treat it with over-the-counter medications such as Pepto-Bismol or Imodium A-D. Just make sure to follow the medication’s instructions exactly as it’s written.

While in the throes of treatment, we recommend that you stay hydrated. This means getting at least 48 ounces of fluid each day. Fruit juices, chicken broth, sports drinks and water will keep you hydrated throughout the day. Also, try drinking these liquids between meals rather than during.

When should I call my doctor?

There are times when over-the-counter medications just don’t do the trick. If you’ve been dealing with ongoing diarrhea then it’s time to give us a call. Infants, the elderly and those who are already sick may not be able to replace the fluids lost from diarrhea, and should see a doctor. If you’ve had diarrhea for several weeks or see blood, this could also be a sign of a more serious illness. If in doubt, call your Houston gastroenterologist immediately.