<p><strong>What Is Diarrhea? </strong></p>
<p>Acute diarrhea—the passage of frequent, loose, or watery stools—is not a disease itself but rather a symptom of an underlying disorder.</p>
<p>As food passes through the digestive system, its water content is normally absorbed through the wall of the large intestine. Diarrhea—and, at times, dehydration—results when fluid is not absorbed but remains in and is expelled with the fecal matter.</p>
<p>Although diarrhea usually subsides without treatment within two or three days, resulting dehydration can be serious and often requires prompt treatment.</p>
<p><strong>Who Gets Diarrhea? </strong></p>
<p>In more than 90 percent of cases, acute diarrhea is caused by infectious agents (e.g., viruses, bacteria, parasites) that are ingested in food and water. ...
The stool C. difficile toxin test detects harmful substances produced by the bacterium Clostridium difficile ( C. difficile) in a stool sample. This infection is a common cause of diarrhea after antibiotic use.
How the test is performed
A sample of a stool is submitted for laboratory analysis. There are several methods used to detect C. difficile toxin in the stool specimen.
Today, an enzyme immunoassay ( EIA ) is most often used to detect substances produced by the bacteria. The EIA is faster than previous culture tests, simpler to perform, and results are available in about an hour. However, it is slightly less sensitive than previous methods. Several stool samples may be needed to get an accurate result.
How to prepare for the test
There are many ways to collect the samples. You can catch the stool on plastic wrap that is loosely placed over the toilet bowl and held in place by the toilet seat. Then you put the sample in a clean container. One ...
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...
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