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​5 Types Of Diarrhea That You Need To Know About

No matter what, diarrhea is pretty crappy. But, it also turns out that not all diarrhea is the same.

Just like there are lots of types of poop, there are lots of types of diarrhea. And each one says something very specific about your health.

That's why, when you visit a doctor with a case of stomach troubles, they’re going to ask a few questions to try to suss out which type of diarrhea that you’re experiencing, says Rudolph Bedford, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. By determining the exact type of diarrhea that you have, your doctor will be able to more quickly and easily pinpoint the cause and, most importantly, put an end to your gastro woes.

While acute diarrhea (a loose stool here or there) is incredibly common and no real big deal, if your diarrhea lasts for more than a few days, it's important to make an appointment with your doctor. Chronic diarrhea that lasts for four weeks or more can be a sign of an underlying health issue. Meanwhile, if you also have a fever of 102 or higher, are experiencing severe pain, or think that you might be dehydrated, calling your doctor is never a bad idea.

So, if you're dealing with your own case, plug your nose and take a look into the toilet. What you see may be your key to getting out of the bathroom for a change.

Osmotic diarrhea happens when too much water is pulled into your bowels, creating watery No.3 (you wouldn't call it poop either, if you saw it). “It usually indicates that something that you’ve taken in isn’t being absorbed,” Dr. Bedford says. Having a lactose intolerance is a common cause of osmotic diarrhea, as well as consumption of artificial sweeteners, he says. Avoiding dairy products or cutting back on sweeteners may help.

Reasons to Visit Your Doctor:

Secretory diarrhea looks a lot like osmotic diarrhea when you're staring into the bowl. But if you're avoiding the dairy and sugar that causes osmotic diarrhea, and you're still experiencing diarrhea even when you don't eat, it's probably secretory.This form of diarrhea strikes when your intestines secrete electrolytes into your colon, which causes water to build up in your GI tract, says Scott Gabbard, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic. A wide range of factors can cause this phenomenon, including an infection or, in rare cases, an endocrine problem, he says. If you’re experiencing secretory diarrhea, it’s time to call your doctor.

Related: 5 Common Stomach Problems That Could Signal Serious Health Issues

If you have blood and pus in your stool, go to the doctor immediately. Exudative diarrhea is usually linked with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, Dr. Bedford says, although some infections such as E. coli can also cause it. Depending on the reason for your exudative diarrhea, steroid medications or immunosuppressants may be needed to help you feel better.

Related: What to Do If You Get Food Poisoning In a Foreign Country​

Diarrhea is never fun, but paradoxical diarrhea is a double-whammy. This happens when people have severe constipation and liquid behind the backup gets around the poop and leaks out as diarrhea. “You literally can be constipated and put out liquid stool at the same time,” Dr. Bedford says. Relieving the constipation should help, he says—you just might need an enema to make it happen.

Related: 10 Foods to Make Yourself Poop

If you’re having little bits of diarrhea more than three times per day, you have pseudodiarrhea. A common symptom of GI conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, it can also occur because of constipation, just like paradoxical diarrhea, Dr. Bedford says. If adding more fiber to your diet or an enema doesn't do anything, you'll need to talk to your doctor about next steps.

The article ​5 Types of Diarrhea That You Need to Know About originally appeared on Women’s Health.

From: Women's Health US

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Dr. Shirley

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