Diarrhea is when stools are loose and watery. You have diarrhea if you have watery stools or bowel movement three or more times a day. Diarrhea is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps, but it is usually not serious unless it lasts for several days. If vomiting and diarrhea are chronic and occur for an extended period of time, they can be life threatening or be symptoms of an underlying health condition.
When to Visit Emergency Room (ER) for Vomiting and Diarrhea
Visit an emergency room (ER) if you observe the following symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting.
- Black or tarry stool
- Stool that contains blood
- Fever – 102 degrees or higher
- Abdominal pain or pain in your rectum
- Diarrhea that lasts longer than two days for adults or longer than one day for children
- Signs of dehydration
If you are experiencing above symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, it is time to visit a nearby emergency room (ER) for treatment.
Come in to SignatureCare Emergency Center to make sure you are not dehydrated. Our emergency room staff can assess what is causing the vomiting /and diarrhea. Our board-certified physicians will diagnose the issues causing you to vomit and have diarrhea, and recommend treatment. Schedule an appointment to see one of our 24-hour ER doctors in Houston, Sugar Land, Stafford, Austin or College Station today.
Causes of Vomiting and Diarrhea
Vomiting and diarrhea are very common, and they usually disappear on their own. They are caused by a variety of factors, including:
Medications – Some medications can cause vomiting and diarrhea. These include blood pressure medications, antibiotics, cancer medications and antacids that contain magnesium. If medication is the cause of vomiting or diarrhea, your doctor may be able to suggest a different prescription or offer suggestions that will minimize the effects of the medication.
Food poisoning – Food poisoning is one of the leading causes of vomiting and diarrhea, and it occurs when food contains salmonella, campylobacter or E. coli bacteria. Food poisoning is usually temporary and mild, but it can be serious if the patient is under the age of 1, is elderly or has a weakened immune system.
Viral gastroenteritis – Norovirus and rotavirus are the two main viruses that cause vomiting and diarrhea. They are accompanied by fever, abdominal pain and cramping.
Food intolerances – Food intolerances may lead to bloating, gas, diarrhea and vomiting.
Traveling – Traveler’s diarrhea occurs when water and food that have been contaminated by bacteria are consumed while traveling.
Parasites – An infection caused by parasites may be the source of diarrhea and vomiting. Amoebic dysentery is a condition that develops over time and can persist for months if left untreated. Giardiasis is another parasitic infection that is spread through contaminated water supplies. Symptoms of giardiasis may persist even after the parasites have left the body.
Types of Diarrhea
Vomiting and Diarrhea are very common, and they usually may disappear on their its own. There are two types of diarrhea – Acute and Chronic Diarrhea.
Acute diarrhea is diarrhea that lasts a short time, usually one or two days but it may last longer and will usually go away on its own. Chronic diarrhea is diarrhea that lasts longer – up to four weeks and could be a symptom of a more serious chronic disease. Symptoms of chronic diarrhea may appear continuously or they may come and go.
Who Gets Diarrhea?
Everyone gets diarrhea. People of all ages, races, ethnicities and nationalities get diarrhea. On average, adult Americans get diarrhea at least once a year while children get it twice a year. People who frequently travel outside United States on average, get traveler’s diarrhea from consuming contaminated food or water.
What is Vomiting?
Vomiting or throwing up happens when you forcefully discharge the contents of your stomach. Vomiting can be a one-time event caused by eating something that disagrees with your stomach. Frequently vomiting could be a symptom of an underlying illness and may require a visit to the emergency room for treatment.
Frequent vomiting could also lead to dehydration which left untreated, could lead to serious medical conditions and death.