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What is diarrhea?
Diarrhea--loose, watery stools occurring more than three times in one day--is a common problem that usually lasts a day or two and goes away on its own without any special treatment. However, prolonged diarrhea can be a sign of other problems. People with diarrhea may pass more than a quart of stool a day.
Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which means the body lacks enough fluid to function properly. Dehydration is particularly dangerous in children and the elderly, and it must be treated promptly to avoid serious health problems. (See "What is dehydration?")
People of all ages can get diarrhea. The average adult has a bout of diarrhea about four times a year.
What causes diarrhea?
What are the symptoms?
Diarrhea in Children
What is dehydration?
When should a doctor be consulted?
What tests might the doctor do?
What is the treatment?
Preventing traveler's diarrhea
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