Symptoms of diarrhea


From the symptom diarrhea (= Diarrhea) in general, one speaks when one heaped (more than 3 times per day) large quantities (more than 250ml per day) bowel movement has that to liquid is (more than 75% water) and is therefore unshaped. Various accompanying symptoms can occur, which are discussed in more detail below.


One speaks of acute diarrhea if it lasts for a few days to a few weeks.
If diarrhea occurs for more than 3 weeks, it is called chronic diarrhea.

Also read: Duration of diarrhea

Chair texture

The bowel movements can be different:

  • If the percentage of fat in the stool is too high, it is called a fatty stool (Steatorrhea). This looks greasy and shiny

  • In the case of diseases of the liver or gall bladder with a deficiency in bile acids, the stool is sometimes difficult. discolored, so bright.

  • Mucus can also be added to the stool, which can occur with various diseases (see also: Slimy stool).

You can find more information about this in our topic bowel movements.

Blood in the stool

Diarrhea can also be accompanied by blood in your stool. Bloody stool as a symptom has a wide variety of causes (including infections, inflammations, colon cancer).

If there is blood in the stool, this can be seen asMelena) appear. The stool is black because the contact of the red blood pigment (hemoglobin) with the gastric acid creates hematin, which leads to a change in color. Tar stools are shiny black and offensive. This is mainly found if you have bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, upper small intestine).

Also read: Colors of bowel movements

Fresh blood in the stool (Hematochezia) rather indicates bleeding in the lower gastrointestinal tract. A distinction must be made as to whether the blood is added to the stool or is deposited on it. Bright red blood deposited in the stool, which is then also found on the toilet paper, indicates a lesion on the rectum or anus (e.g. hemorrhoids)

Read more on the topic: Blood in the stool such as Black bowel movements

Possible accompanying symptoms

Diarrhea comes with various underlying diseases as a symptom, which the patient often calls extremely uncomfortable and threatening is felt.
Depending on the respective cause, corresponding accompanying symptoms can often provide clues. Common accompanying symptoms include:

  • stomach pain
  • Flatulence
  • Nausea / vomiting
  • Painful bowel movements
  • fever
  • fatigue, sleepiness up to coma in the event of excessive loss of water and salts
  • Renal dysfunction due to the reduced water content in the body
  • Cardiac arrhythmias due to changes in blood salts

At the Colon cancer can be found next to the diarrhea also in some cases unwanted weight loss, fever and Night sweats as an indication of a malignant disease.

Special forms of the symptom diarrhea:

Paradoxes (wrong) Diarrhea
Here is the Total amount of stool not increased, so max. 250 grams per day, with the individual Watery stools are and the Increased stool frequency is. This occurs mainly with constrictions of the intestine e.g. Colon cancer because only small amounts of stool can pass through the bottleneck. Due to irritation of the intestinal mucosa, more water is added to the stool. Through the long retention time of the chair in the intestine it comes to Fermentation by the intestinal bacteria, which is why the stool is very smells bad.

Here is the Total amount of stool increased (more than 250g / day), the individual Normally shaped chairs are. This often happens with Irritable bowel syndrome in front.

Concomitant symptoms of diarrhea during pregnancy

In pregnant women, diarrhea is more often associated with weakness, general malaise and abdominal pain. V.a. If the diarrhea persists, the heavy loss of water leads to a drop in blood pressure with dizziness, malaise and weakness. The risk of a collapse is then also increased.
Pregnant women should therefore be careful to drink enough. If the condition persists, a doctor should also be consulted at an early stage. The pharmacist or doctor can provide more detailed information about the use of certain medications during pregnancy.

Read more on this topic at: Diarrhea in pregnancy

Concomitant symptoms of diarrhea in children

Diarrheal diseases at Toddlers and Babies go with them more often fever hand in hand. In addition, even smaller amounts of fluid loss can lead to threatening symptoms reduced water content (Dehydration) to lead. These include, for example:

  • Slackness and sleepiness
  • Changes in heart rhythm and
  • cramps

Symptoms of EHEC Infection

An infection with the enteric hemorrhagic Eschericia coli bacterium can lead to severe, bloody diarrhea.

The bacterium forms toxins, which lead to the destruction of the intestinal wall and blood vessels. The toxins also damage vessels in the kidneys and brain. This can lead to haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in the course of the infection, which, in addition to acute kidney failure (no more urine production with an accumulation of toxic substances in the blood), can also be associated with disorders of the nervous system. HUS is a more common complication of EHEC infection in babies and children.

You can find more information about infection with the EHEC pathogen at:EHEC - what is it?