Diarrhea is one of the most common health complaints. It can range from a mild, temporary condition, to a potentially life-threatening one.

Diarrhea is characterized by abnormally loose or watery stools.

Some people frequently pass stools, but they are of normal consistency. This is not diarrhea. Similarly, breastfed babies often pass loose, pasty stools. This is normal. It is not diarrhea.

Diarrhea refers to watery stools, but it may be accompanied by other symptoms.

These include:

  • stomach pain
  • abdominal cramps
  • bloating
  • thirst
  • weight loss
  • fever

Diarrhea is a symptom of other conditions, some of which can be serious.

Other possible symptoms are:

  • blood or pus in the stools
  • persistent vomiting
  • dehydration

If these accompany diarrhea, or if the diarrhea is chronic, it may indicate a more serious illness.