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Acute diarrhea

Acute diarrhea is a topic covered in the Diagnosaurus.

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Don’t miss

  • Ischemic colitis

Infectious: noninflammatory (nonbloody)

  • Viruses: Norwalk virus, rotavirus, adenoviruses, astrovirus, coronavirus
  • Preformed toxin (food poisoning): Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Clostridium perfringens
  • Toxin production: enterotoxigenic E. coli, Vibrio cholerae, Vibrio parahaemolyticus
  • Protozoa: Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, Isospora

Infectious: invasive or inflammatory

  • Shigella, Salmonella, Campylobacter, enteroinvasive E. coli, E. coli O157:H7, Yersinia enterocolitica, Clostridium difficile (e.g., pseudomembranous colitis), Entamoeba histolytica, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Listeria monocytogenes

Associated with unprotected anal intercourse

  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae, syphilis, lymphogranuloma venereum, herpes simplex


  • Drug reaction, especially antibiotics
  • Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease (inflammatory)
  • Ischemic colitis (inflammatory)
  • Fecal impaction (stool may leak around impaction)
  • Laxative abuse
  • Radiation colitis (inflammatory)
  • Emotional stress
  • Malabsorption syndrome

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Last updated: March 5, 2015


Zeiger, Roni F.. "Acute Diarrhea." Diagnosaurus, 4th ed., McGraw-Hill Education, 2015. Medicine Central, im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/Diagnosaurus/114452/all/Acute_diarrhea.
Zeiger RF. Acute diarrhea. Diagnosaurus. 4th ed. McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/Diagnosaurus/114452/all/Acute_diarrhea. Accessed March 24, 2019.
Zeiger, R. F. (2015). Acute diarrhea. In Diagnosaurus. Available from https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/Diagnosaurus/114452/all/Acute_diarrhea
Zeiger RF. Acute Diarrhea [Internet]. In: Diagnosaurus. McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. [cited 2019 March 24]. Available from: https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/Diagnosaurus/114452/all/Acute_diarrhea.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Acute diarrhea ID - 114452 A1 - Zeiger,Roni F, Y1 - 2015/03/05/ BT - Diagnosaurus UR - https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/Diagnosaurus/114452/all/Acute_diarrhea PB - McGraw-Hill Education ET - 4 DB - Medicine Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -