- Loose stool:
Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.
See what questions
a doctor would ask.
During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Loose stool. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.
It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.
Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:
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Why: to determine if acute or chronic. Acute loose stools (without blood) is more likely to be infectious in nature e.g. staphylococcal toxin food poisoning, giardiasis, traveler's diarrhea, a virus or contaminated food. Chronic loose stools have a large number of causes.
Why: the symptom diarrhea may be defined in a number of different ways. Some people complain of frequent stool (more than 3 per day being abnormal) or they may complain of a change in the consistency of the stools which have become loose or watery.
Why: e.g. high volume stools may be suggestive of infection (such as E.Coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio Cholerae), carcinoid syndrome, bowel polyp, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, magnesium antacids, lactose intolerance or after gastric surgery; small volume stools may suggest inflammatory bowel disease or colon cancer.
Why: e.g. fatty, pale colored, extremely smelly stools that float in the toilet and are difficult to flush away is called steatorrhea due to excess fat in the stool and are characteristic of malabsorption of nutrients which may be due to celiac disease, chronic pancreatitis, previous gastrectomy and cystic fibrosis.
Why: may suggest an infection (such as E.Coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio cholerae), vasoactive intestinal polypeptide secreting tumor, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, carcinoid syndrome and villous bowel polyp.
Why: may help in discovering the source of possible food poisoning.
Why: may suggest toxic staphylococcal gastroenteritis, Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter pylori.
Why: may suggest traveler's diarrhea, cholera, shigellosis, salmonellosis and giardiasis.
Why: e.g. recent antibiotics may predispose to pseudomembranous colitis; medications that can cause loose stools include digitalis, diuretics, beta-blockers, aspirin, colchicines, other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications; overuse of laxatives may also cause loose stools.
Why: it is well known that alcohol can cause loose stools.
Why: If acute loose stools, may suggest Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter jejuni, ulcerative colitis and amebic dysentery. If chronic loose stools, may suggest ulcerative colitis, bowel cancer, diverticulitis, amoebiasis, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
Why: suggests ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
Why: may suggest Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter jejuni and ulcerative colitis, severe amoebic dysentery or pseudomembranous colitis. May get a low grade temperature with traveler's diarrhea and toxic staphylococcal gastroenteritis.
Why: may suggest toxic staphylococcal gastroenteritis (which follows 2-4 hours after eating food poisoned with the toxin), traveler's diarrhea and viral gastroenteritis.
Why: may suggests irritable bowel syndrome.
Why: may suggest inflammatory bowel disease.
Why: e.g. double vision, blurred vision, sensitivity of the eyes to light, poor coordination and difficulty with speaking - may suggest botulism caused by the neurotoxin of clostridium botulinum which flourishes in preserved anaerobic food.
The following list of conditions have 'Loose stool' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Loose stool or choose View All.
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