- Loose or watery poo
- Stomach cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
There are many different causes of diarrhoea, but gastroenteritis is a common cause. This can be caused by:
- Norovirus or rotavirus
- Bacteria contained in contaminated food
- A parasite contained in contaminated water
These infections can sometimes be caught during travel abroad to areas with poor standards of public hygiene.
Diarrhoea can also occur due to:
- Food allergies
- Certain medications
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Acute appendicitis
- Intestinal ischaemia (a condition that causes pain and occurs when the blood supply to the gut is reduced usually by a clot)
Most cases of diarrhoea clear up after a few days without treatment. However as it can lead to dehydration it is important to drink plenty of fluids in small, frequent sips until it passes. This is particularly important for babies and children. Medications such as rehydration solutions (Dioralyte) are available however, these are not usually necessary.
It is advisable to stay at home until at least 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea to prevent spreading infection to others.