Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What causes diarrhea?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat causes diarrhea?


I seem to get diarrhea a lot and it can't be traced to what I eat. Is there something that could be causing this like colitis or IBS or a food allergy? All three maybe?


The causes of diarrhea are quite numerous. Therefore, for this reason, if you have been having these symptoms on and off for a while, it would be helpful for you to see your doctor to help you get to the bottom of what might be going on! Colitis is one of the serious medical causes of diarrhea. It is usually associated with abdominal pain and the stools usually have blood in them. There also may be weight loss and sores around the anus. The condition requires aggressive medical treatment by a gastroenterologist. Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most common causes of diarrhea. Most cases of IBS are characterized by intermittent abdominal cramping and alternating diarrhea or constipation. The symptoms are worsened by stress and fatigue, and initial management focuses on controlling these lifestyle factors. There is rarely weight loss or any other serious additional symptom. Food allergies or intolerances are also quite common. Perhaps one of the most common causes of diarrhea from food is lactose intolerance, which results in bloating and diarrhea whenever dairy products are ingested. Celiac disease is a condition in which an intolerance to the gluten in wheat products develops. Start by seeing your primary care doctor!

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.