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Diarrhea is characterized by rise in daily defecation and watery consistency of stools. Diarrhea is also called "watery defecation".  Diarrhea may occur in many different diseases of digestive tract.  If stool is in large amounts and watery, this is generally small intestine originated and if it is in small amounts, runny and frequent, it is generally large intestine originated.

"Acute gastroenteritis" is the most common acute (short term) diarrhea reason. It may be due to bacterial or viral infection. It is seen more commonly in the summer. The disease firstly starts with stomachache and vomiting and diarrhea starts in subsequent hours. Sometimes a great of deal of water and electrolyte loss occurs due to excessive amount of both vomiting and diarrhea and vomiting  and this is called "dehydration". Dehydration and electrolyte disorder may threaten the life especially in elderly people and this should be promptly fixed. Acute gastroenteritis lasts 48-72 hours in vast majority of the patients and it automatically vanishes; thus, it will be sufficient to eat non-fatty foods in non-heavy conditions and a diet consisting of intake of plenty of liquid. In severe cases, antibiotic treatment may be necessary. 

Diarrhea induced by single-cell parasite called Amoeba (TA histolytica)" is also common in our country. Difference of this is because it holds more large intestines and causes surface wounds, defecation is frequent, runny and bloody.

Another frequent diarrhea reason is the reason induced by use of antibiotics. Excessive and sometimes unnecessary use of antibiotics in our country leads to frequent emergence of such diarrhea. Primary reason for this is that a bacterium called "clostridium difficile" reproduces as a result of deterioration of normal large intestine flora by antibiotics and causing infection. In this case, antibiotic in use should be discontinued immediately. The treatments correcting flora or antibiotics affecting clostridium difficile are administered in such unresolved cases.

If diarrhea is more than 3 weeks, " chronic diarrhea " may be faced with. Here , reasons get diverse; now infection factors are not in question. A large number of diseases involving intestinal surface can lead to chronic diarrhea; these include celiac disease (gluten caused by substances found in cereals), malabsorption (deterioration of intestinal absorptive surface), malignant diseases such as lymphoma. Moreover, large polyps called the "villous adenoma" present in large intestine may cause diarrhea as well.