Changes in bowel movements can be concerning, but how do you know when and if you need to seek help?
A change in bowel movements can be a difficult problem to figure out. Everybody's gastrointestinal tract functions differently. While most people move their bowels one to two times a day, some people go three to four times a day, while others only once or twice a week. A change in the number or consistency of stool should alert you to see your physician.
Depending on your age, and other associated symptoms, a gastrointestinal evaluation may be warranted. If there is associated weight loss, abdominal pain or bleeding, an urgent evaluation with your physician is imperative. If not, you can attempt to see if the diarrhea resolves on its own. Over the counter antidiarrheals such as immodium or kaopectate can be taken to try to stop the diarrhea. If you are experiencing pain, or bleeding, check with your physician prior to taking any medications to stop diarrhea. You might hav...
A few weeks ago in a telephone conversation with my mom, she mentioned that one of my sisters had been having some problems with her stomach for the last month or so. Being concerned, I called my sister directly to talk to her about what was going on.
"I don't know," she said. I'm eating a healthy diet, but for the last month or so I've had a lot of diarrhea and even some vomiting. And my stomach hurts so much after I eat that I just don't want to eat anymore."
"What are you eating?" I asked.
"You know, healthy stuff. Fruits and vegetables and high fiber bread."
I explained to her that a healthy diet isn't healthy if it's making you sick. And if it's making you sick then you have to do something to figure out what is causing the symptoms. First, change what you're eating so that you can eat and get some nourishment into your body. And second, make an appointment with a gastroenterologist to discuss the problems.
"It's especially important to see a GI...
Alternative Names Foul-smelling stools Home Care Home care depends on the diagnosis. Follow your health care provider's instructions closely, and stick to any prescribed diets. If you have diarrhea, drink more fluids to avoid dehydration. Call your health care provider if Call your health care provider if you have: Black or pale stools Blood in the stool Changes in the stool related to diet Chills Cramping Fever Pain in the abdomen Weight loss What to expect at your health care provider's office Your health care provider will perform a physical examination and ask questions about your medical history. Questions may include: When did you first notice that your stools were foul-smelling? Are the stools an abnormal color (especially pale or clay-colored stools )? Are your stools difficult to flush? What sort of diet have you eaten recently? Does a change in your diet make the smell worse or better? What other symptoms do you have? The doctor may take a stool sample. Other tests may be needed.
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