Los Angeles Gastroenterology Clinic
S. Radi Shamsi, MD
Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist located in Santa Monica, CA
Racing to get to the bathroom when you have the runs is no way to spend your day. Make an appointment with S. Radi Shamsi, MD, at Los Angeles Gastroenterology Clinic in Santa Monica, California. He’ll get to the root of your diarrhea and find out what’s triggering it. Once he knows what’s wrong, he’ll prescribe a treatment that works for you, so you can start having normal bowel movements again.
What is diarrhea?
If you’ve ever had a watery bowel movement, you’ve had diarrhea. In general, diarrhea is defined as going to the bathroom more than usual, or passing loose stools — sometimes both. When your intestinal tract gets bombarded with extra fluid, if your intestines fail to absorb fluid as they should, or if food passes too quickly through your gut, you’ll wind up with diarrhea.
Usually diarrhea is broken down into two forms: Absolute or relative.
With absolute diarrhea, you’ll have more than five bowel movements daily. These will likely be loose or watery stools.
If you have relative diarrhea though, it just means that you “go” more than usual, or that your stools are looser than normal. Relative diarrhea leaves you with more bathroom trips than you usually have, as well as looser stool textures than normal.
Why do I have diarrhea?
When diarrhea hits suddenly, it’s probably due to a virus roaming through your bowels, sometimes called, the “stomach flu.” But diarrhea has many causes, so Dr. Shamsi will spend time with you to see if your case of diarrhea stems from:
- Food allergies
- IBS, IBD, celiac, or Crohn’s disease
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Malabsorption issues
- Cancer or radiation therapy
- Exercising too much (common in runners)
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
- Prescription or over-the-counter medications (including laxatives)
- A bacterial infection
- Complications from a prior surgery on your digestive tract
- Poor diet or food sensitivities
At what point should I see Dr. Shamsi?
Anytime you’re concerned about your bowel habits, you should certainly make an appointment with Dr. Shamsi. While diarrhea is often not a big concern and can go away on its own, if you have any of the following additional symptoms, get in to see him right away:
- Dark or tarry stools
- Bloody stools
- A fever higher than 101° F lasting over 24 hours
- Nausea or vomiting
- Severe lower abdominal pain
- Pain in your rectum
- Diarrhea for more than two days
- Diarrhea after coming home from a foreign country
When you have diarrhea, pay attention to other symptoms you might be having to further help Dr. Shamsi diagnose you. He’ll want you to come to the office if you have diarrhea that is accompanied by:
- Confusion, moodiness, or irritability
- Dry skin
- A headache that won’t go away
- Dark urine
- A decrease in urine frequency
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