What is it?
Diarrhoea is a common symptom of an ‘upset tummy’ – a gastrointestinal disturbance. It produces frequent watery stools and may be accompanied by abdominal pain, feeling sick, and tiredness. Sometimes there will be blood and/or mucus in the stool. Most adults experience several brief bouts of uncomplicated diarrhoea each year that are usually short and self-limiting, resolving themselves within a few days and cause nothing more than temporary discomfort.
However, severe diarrhoea or diarrhoea which lasts several weeks can be dangerous, especially to very young children and the elderly. Diarrhoea can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, and may need hospitalisation. In infants, significant dehydration can occur much more quickly than adults - within a couple of days.