This page is intended to give advice for adults with diarrhoea. In all cases of diarrhoea in babies and children, please consult your doctor.
Diarrhoea is the passing of watery stools more than three times a day. Diarrhoea is categorised as acute diarrhoea which lasts 5-10 days, and chronic diarrhoea which lasts more than 2 weeks.
Anyone suffering from chronic diarrhoea should always consult their doctor. Acute diarrhoea is usually a symptom of gastroenteritis (an infection of the bowel) and may be due to:
- A virus
- Food poisoning/infected food
- Contaminated water from foreign countries.
Other causes include anxiety or drinking lots of alcohol.
Consult your doctor if you have:
- Persistent diarrhoea
- Diarrhoea associated with fever
- Diarrhoea with severe or constant stomach cramps
- Children, babies and the elderly can easily become dehydrated and medical referral is advisable.
- Cramping pains in abdomen.
- Watery stools last hours or several days.
- High temperature
Drink lots of fluid. Take small, frequent sips of water or diluted fruit juice.
Rehydration drinks are ideal as they provide a great balance of salts, sugars and water to prevent dehydration. Sachets are available from most pharmacies.
Eat as normally as possible. It is recommended that you eat food high in carbohydrates (bread, rice, pasta, potatoes).
† Medical referral is advisable if symptoms worsen or persist.
On no account should prescribed medication be discontinued, except under a doctor’s supervision.