Diarrhea is the source of an uncouth childhood rhyme and the bane of many parents, but it doesn’t necessarily stop being a problem in the adult years. Odds are good you’ll experience it at several points in your life, and some people struggle regularly with loose and watery stools.
But even if it’s embarrassing and usually not serious, diarrhea can be life threatening and is something to take seriously.
"Diarrhea is responsible for more than 300 deaths per year in North America,” says gastroenterologist Dr. Partha Nandi.
"Diarrhea and related complications can cause severe illness, especially in high-risk groups, such as patients with severe co morbid conditions, underlying immunosuppression, and advanced age."
Here’s everything you need to know about diarrhea in the adult years, from its causes and risks to how to prevent and treat it — and when it warrants a trip to the doctor.