Everyone occasionally has diarrhea — loose, watery and more-frequent bowel movements. You might also have abdominal cramps and produce a greater volume of stool. The duration of diarrhea symptoms can provide a clue to the underlying cause.

Acute diarrhea lasts from 2 days to 2 weeks. Persistent diarrhea lasts 2 to 4 weeks. Acute and persistent diarrhea are typically caused by a bacterial, viral or parasitic infection of some sort.

Chronic diarrhea lasts longer than does acute or persistent diarrhea, generally more than four weeks. Chronic diarrhea can indicate a serious disorder, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, or a less serious condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

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July 14, 2021

See also

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  3. Agoraphobia
  4. Amyloidosis
  5. Anaphylaxis
  6. Anaphylaxis: First aid
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  12. Aspirin allergy
  13. Bee sting
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  25. Colon cancer screening: At what age can you stop?
  26. Colon cancer screening
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  28. Colorectal Cancer
  29. Crohn's Crisis
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  31. What is Crohn's disease? A Mayo Clinic expert explains
  32. Crohn's or Colitis
  33. Cyclic vomiting syndrome
  34. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection
  35. Diabetes insipidus
  36. Diabetic neuropathy
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  39. Diverticulitis
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  41. E. coli
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  45. Endometriosis
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  48. Fecal incontinence
  49. Flu masks
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  51. Food poisoning
  52. Gastroenteritis: First aid
  53. GI Stents
  54. Giardia infection (giardiasis)
  55. Graves' disease
  56. H1N1 flu (swine flu)
  57. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome
  58. Hirschsprung's disease
  59. HIV/AIDS
  60. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  61. Inflammatory bowel disease FAQs
  62. Infographic: Innovative Rectal Cancer Treatments
  63. Intestinal ischemia
  64. Intestinal obstruction
  65. Intussusception
  66. Irritable bowel syndrome
  67. Ischemic colitis
  68. Jet lag disorder
  69. Kawasaki disease
  70. Lactose intolerance
  71. Legionnaires' disease
  72. Listeria infection
  73. Malaria
  74. Mayo Clinic Minute: Avoiding summer E. coli infection
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  77. Mesenteric lymphadenitis
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  83. He's the bravest kid I've ever seen
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  87. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  88. Peritonitis
  89. Plague
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  93. Preterm labor
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  95. Primary sclerosing cholangitis
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  97. Pseudomembranous colitis
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  100. Reye's syndrome
  101. Roseola
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  103. Salt craving: A symptom of Addison's disease?
  104. Scleroderma
  105. Self-care for the flu
  106. Serotonin syndrome
  107. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
  108. Shellfish allergy
  109. Shigella infection
  110. Smallpox
  111. Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)
  112. Spastic colon: What does it mean?
  113. Sulfa allergy
  114. Tapeworm infection
  115. Toxic shock syndrome
  116. Trichinosis
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  118. Ulcerative colitis
  119. Ulcerative colitis flare-ups: 5 tips to manage them
  120. Vesicoureteral reflux
  121. How irritable bowel syndrome affects you
  122. Vitamin deficiency anemia
  123. What is MERS-CoV?
  124. What's the difference between H1N1 flu and influenza A?
  125. Wheat allergy
  126. Whipple's disease
  127. Fecal transplant treatment of C. difficile at Mayo Clinic
  128. Mayo Clinic study reporting increased incidence of C. difficile infection
  129. Zollinger-Ellison syndrome