ZocdocAnswersI have had diarrhea for over 2 weeks. What should I do?

Question

I have had diarrhea for over 2 weeks. What should I do?

I also have nausea and stomach discomfort. While all of this has been going on I had also caught a fairly bad cold?

Answer

Most Americans will experience diarrheal illness 1 or 2 times per year. The vast majority of the time, these episodes are fairly benign and self-limiting and no further work-up is needed. However, given that your diarrhea has lasted for over 2 weeks, it is strongly recommended that you consult with your primary care doctor to establish a diagnosis and treatment plan. Diarrhea lasting longer than 2 weeks could be due to a number of underlying problems. You could still be suffering from an infection which could be causing your nausea, upset stomach and diarrhea. The presence of any sick contacts with similar symptoms could support this diagnosis. Additionally, if your symptoms were preceded by any unusual food exposures, such as raw seafood, this could point toward infection. Alternatively, any new medications started recently could suggest your symptoms may be due to a medication side effect. Persistent diarrhea could also be due to an underlying inflammatory bowel disease, especially if the diarrhea is associated with the passage of blood. No matter what the cause may be, you should see your primary care physician. A thorough medical history and physical exam can be conducted, and further testing with stool cultures or blood work may help establish a diagnosis.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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