Diarrhea is the increase in frequency of bowel movements or passing loose stool. The stool may be soft or watery in consistency. Diarrhea is usually not a serious medical condition and will go away on its own without any treatment in a few days. Diarrhea may however become serious if the diarrhea lasts for more than a few days, or the stool contains blood.
Normally, water is removed from the stool and is absorbed by the large intestine. When more than 90% of water is retained in the stool, the stool becomes loose and poorly formed. Diarrhea occurs when not enough water is removed from stool and the stool travels faster in the large intestine causing an increase in frequency of bowel movements.
Diarrhea can lead to dehydration. If diarrhea continous and large amounts of fluid and electrolytes are lost, it may lead to other serious disorders including fainting, heart rhythm abnormalities and others. At particular risk are the very young, older people, and the debilitated.