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Diarrhea, Age 12 and Older - Preparing For Your Appointment

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:

  • How long have you had diarrhea?
  • How many times per day are you having diarrhea?
  • What does your diarrhea look like? Describe the color, consistency (watery, mushy), and other characteristics (contains blood or mucus).
  • When was your last episode of diarrhea?
  • Have you recently increased the amount of fiber in your diet (more fresh fruit, vegetables, or other high-fiber foods)?
  • What prescription and nonprescription medicines do you take?
    • Are you taking any new medicines?
    • Did you recently increase the dose of a medicine?
    • Have you taken any antibiotics recently?
    • Did you recently receive an antibiotic while in the hospital?
  • Do you routinely use laxatives or stool softeners?
  • Have you been under an unusual amount of stress at home, work, or both?
  • Does anyone you live with or work with have diarrhea?
  • Did your diarrhea start after eating at a restaurant? Has anyone who ate there with you become ill?
  • Did you drink lake or stream water or untreated well water?
  • Have you recently visited a foreign country or taken a ship cruise?
  • Do you have any risk factors that make you more susceptible to diarrhea, such as irritable bowel syndrome?
  • What home treatment measures have you tried? Be sure to include any nonprescription medicines you have taken.
  • Do you have other symptoms, such as vomiting, fever, or dehydration?
  • Do you have any health risks?

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: October 18, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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