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Doctor insights on: What Is The Difference Between Diarrhea And Loose Stool

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What is the difference between diarrhea and loose stool, or are they the same?

What is the difference between diarrhea and loose stool, or are they the same?

Define "Diarrhea": Stool texture (regardless of volume or frequency of movements) is defined by the bristol stool scale (bss), which ranges from 1 (hard, pellet stool) to 7 (loose, watery stool). Normal stool grades a 4 on the bss. On the other hand, "diarrhea" is defined by volume and stool frequency (typically more than 4-5 bowel movements/day). Tell your doctor as well about bleeding, fever, tenderness/pain. ...Read more

Dr. Oscar Novick
2,200 Doctors shared insights

Loose Stools (Definition)

Loose stools is a symptom in which a person's stool (poop) does not hold its shape after it goes into the toilet. Instead of remaining a shaped piece of poop, the poop spreads out in the toilet bowl water. Very loose stool is called diarrhea. Loose stool can be caused by infections, certain foods or drinks, ...Read more


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What is the difference between diarrhea and loose stool, or are they the same?

What is the difference between diarrhea and loose stool, or are they the same?

Different: I believe diarrhea must include a serious increase in the frequency of the bms and looseness. Of course other symptoms such as fever, cramps, etc may be present. ...Read more

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What is the difference between loose stools and diarhhea?

What is the difference between loose stools and diarhhea?

LOOSE STOOLS: Have a mushy consistency. Diarrhea is wattery non formed stools. ...Read more

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I've had floating stools off and on for decade. MRCP, EUS, CT, colonscopt normal. What is difference between IBS loose stools and steathorrea?

I've had floating stools off and on for decade. MRCP, EUS, CT, colonscopt normal. What is difference between IBS loose stools and steathorrea?

Ibs: Is a conditions and u may have frequent bms normal or watery. Steatorrhea is a sign of fatty stools due to malabsorption syndrome which needs a ge consult. ...Read more

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I have abdominal bloating and loose stools everyday for over 4month; what are the differences between IBS and chronic colitis?

I have abdominal bloating and loose stools everyday for over 4month; what are the differences between IBS and chronic colitis?

See MD if chronic: Many causes chronic diarrhea/bloat- many treatable/reversible so wud seek MD after discontinue milk/milk products, artificial sugar and sodas& caffeine for couple weeks as these are common culprits. Red flags for urgent attention: blood, fever. weight loss, anemia. Pain relieved w BM is major distinction of IBS from chronic diarrhea, and "colitis" generally reserved for ulcerative colitis/Crohn's
...Read more

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Gall bladder removed 3 months ago. Stools were a little loose but still only once a day. Past four days developed loose stools/diarreah upon waking, after eating, and even if I don't eat. Tried BRAT diet and not much difference. Related to surgery?

Gall bladder removed 3 months ago. Stools were a little loose but still only once a day. Past four days developed loose stools/diarreah upon waking, after eating, and even if I don't eat. Tried BRAT diet and not much difference. Related to surgery?

Can be.: You may have a constant slow dribbling of bile into your intestines now that the gallbladder is gone. This can result in loose stools. Here are some mess like questran that can bind bile salts and may help. See you MD ...Read more

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What is wrong with me? I have loose stools nearly every day.

What is wrong with me? I have loose stools nearly every day.

Daily loose stools: Causes of daily loose stools include irritable bowel syndrome (usually associated with stress), lactose intolerance, or severe constipation (in which new food from the stomach comes to your colon as a liquid, has no place to go, and so leaks around the huge mass of constipated stool. This is surprisingly common and is sugggested if you have any past history of constipation. ...Read more

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Help please! Is black loose stools common or should I be worried?

Help please! Is black loose stools common or should I be worried?

Possibly: If you black stools are tarry (sticky) with a foul odor that would be cause for concern. That could be related to GI bleeding. ...Read more

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Can a mutivitamin give you loose stools?

Can a mutivitamin give you loose stools?

Check ingredients...: If your multivitamin is high in magnesium, you're getting a laxative effect equivalent to taking milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide). Alternatively, some pill vehicles can cause loose stool, even if the pill ingredients do not. In any case, stop taking the supplement & if diarrhea persists, another cause must be sought. ...Read more

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Does green loose stools associate with giardia?

Does green loose stools associate with giardia?

Not necessarily.: An infection with giardia can present with diarrhea or constipation or neither. Stool color is not a reliable way to determine the organism responsible, if any. Only a test for parasites can do this, and it takes checking 3 stool samples, because the parasites may not be present in every stool. See your doctor and get tested. ...Read more

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Can your gallbladder give you loose stools? If so, what is recommended?

Gallbladder: Gallbladder problems not usually associated with diarrhea as the synptoms are more of a blocking of bile by stones in the gallbladder. Diarrhea can happen after gallbladder comes out ...Read more

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When is best time to take Metamucil for loose stools? 1 tsp a day enough?

When is best time to take Metamucil for loose stools? 1 tsp a day enough?

Night: Night time if you normally go to the washroom in the morning, or first thing in the morning if you go to the washroom in the evening. ...Read more

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My baby has had loose stools for almost a week and a half now. Is that normal?  

My baby has had loose stools for almost a week and a half now. Is that normal?  

Loose stools: Depends on the age and the babie's diet, and sometimes the mother's diet. In many circumstances loose stools can be normal.
Has there been a change in diet or a change in formula? Is the baby growing normally or not.
If the problem persists without a good explaination of the cause, then discuss this with the babi's doctor to determine whether or not an examination is necessary. ...Read more

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Flat stools for about 2years. No blood. No pain. Sometimes loose stools am I ok?

Flat stools for about 2years. No blood. No pain. Sometimes loose stools am I ok?

Change in stool: A change in the appearance of the stool warrants attention, even if you have seen no blood and have no pain. Suggest you see your doctor for examination and appropriate tests. Consider colonoscopy if you have not had one. ...Read more

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Had loose stools for over 3 weeks...i have to relieve myself after I eat daily.

Had loose stools for over 3 weeks...i have to relieve myself after I eat daily.

Too long: I am sorry, you must feel uncomfortable. 3 weeks is a bit too long to say just a viral infection and I would try to have some stool studies done to see if you have an infection. If that is ruled out then other exams may need to be done.
In the mean time, it cannot hurt to take some acidophilus tablets to help replace your gut with the "good bacteria". You can get these in any pharmacy. ...Read more

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Hi yesterday I had loose stools and I woke up this morning with lower right side pain?

Hi yesterday I had loose stools and I woke up this morning with lower right side pain?

Diarrhea with pain: Infectious diarrhea and other form of colitis can cause pain discomfort. If continued diarrhea or fevers or pain seek medical attention. ...Read more

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Hi I'm 40 and had a bad back for a few days and now I've got loose stools. Is this anything serious?

Hi I'm 40 and had a bad back for a few days and now I've got loose stools. Is this anything serious?

Probably not serious: It's only serious if the loose stools are the cause of the "bad back". In other words, if you have a bowel condition that is causing back pain, then it would be best to have it looked into. If on the other hand, you have had episodes of back pain in the past, and now you have loose stools, the two conditions are probably unrelated. ...Read more

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Loose stools in children. Would a disease or just random loose poops w/o reasons be the likely cause?

Loose stools in children. Would a disease or just random loose poops w/o reasons be the likely cause?

Most often dietary: Most often just random event due to dietary changes - if chronic or have blood see your doctor. ...Read more

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I have had loose stools every morning for as long as I can remember. I am a 32 year old woman. Is this ok?

I have had loose stools every morning for as long as I can remember. I am a 32 year old woman. Is this ok?

Loose stool: Consider evaluation for food intolerances gluten, milk soy, (can avoid these food for a week and see what happens) or pancreatic insufficiency (do you get frequent bronchitis - may be a form of cystic fibrosis) or H pylori gastritis which ca nbe diagnosed via blood test of breath test. Would also check thyroid f/u /w/ doc ...Read more

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I am a 57 year old male and for over 6 months I have/am having the runs or very loose stools and wonder if that could be normal?

Not usually: Whenever you have a drastic change in bowel habits that persist- it is important to be evaluated. There are certain infections, inflammation of bowel or conditions like celiac disease that can cause these types of symptoms. Increasing the fiber in your diet may add bulk- but you need eva by doctor. ...Read more

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I've had loose stools for the past 15 years on a regular basis. Is there anything to worry about if I have a colonoscopy every five years?

Needs evaluation: Hopefully you have told the GI doctor who does your colonoscopies about this. If not, do so. This is not normal and should be investigated. Hope this is nothing serious. Good luck, . ...Read more

Dr. Oscar Novick
3,361 Doctors shared insights

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