The Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics helps you diagnose and treat hundreds of medical conditions. Consult clinical recommendations from a resource that has been trusted on the wards for 50+ years. Explore these free sample topics:
-- The first section of this topic is shown below --
- Acute diarrhea consists of the abrupt onset of increased frequency and/or fluidity of bowel movements. Infectious agents, toxins, and drugs are the major causes of acute diarrhea. In hospitalized patients, pseudomembranous colitis, antibiotic- or drug-associated diarrhea, and fecal impaction should be considered (Gastroenterology 2004;127:287 [PMID:15236193]).
- Chronic diarrhea consists of passage of loose stools with or without increased stool frequency for more than 4 weeks.