Read below about watery diarrhea, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your watery diarrhea from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having watery diarrhea

Take Quiz

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Watery Diarrhea

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced watery diarrhea. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Viral (Norovirus) Infection

    Noroviruses are a group of related viruses that leads to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. These viruses cause gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. When the diarrhea and/or vomiting is severe, dehydration can occur. Symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, dizziness, urinating less frequently and dark urine.

    Usually resolves within 2-3 days.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    diarrhea, vomiting or nausea, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), headache
    Symptoms that always occur with viral (norovirus) infection:
    diarrhea, vomiting or nausea
    Symptoms that never occur with viral (norovirus) infection:
    severe abdominal pain, throbbing headache, severe headache, tarry stool, vaginal bleeding, alertness level change
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Food Poisoning

    Food poisoning is a common ailment that causes gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is caused by improperly handled or unrefrigerated food.

    1-3 days

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), headache, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), dizziness
    Symptoms that never occur with food poisoning:
    severe fever, being severely ill, bloody diarrhea
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Diarrhea Caused by a Bacteria Called Vibrio

    Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterium in the same family as those that cause cholera and Vibrio vulnificus. It can be contracted by consuming raw or undercooked shellfish, or exposure to sea or brackish water, and causes gastrointestinal illness (i.e. diarrhea often with abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills) in humans.

    Symptoms will usually resolve within 2 to 3 days without antibiotics.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    diarrhea, nausea, stomach bloating, headache, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps)
    Symptoms that always occur with diarrhea caused by a bacteria called vibrio:
    diarrhea
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Normal Occurrence of Diarrhea

    Diarrhea has numerous causes including bacteria, viruses, parasites, medications, food intolerance & digestive system diseases.

    1 day

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    diarrhea, mild diarrhea
    Symptoms that always occur with normal occurrence of diarrhea:
    diarrhea
    Symptoms that never occur with normal occurrence of diarrhea:
    bloody diarrhea, severe diarrhea, worsening diarrhea, being severely ill, ill appearance
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

    Watery Diarrhea Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having watery diarrhea.

    Take Quiz
  5. 5.Microscopic Colitis

    Inflammation is the body's normal response to injury, irritation, or infection of tissues. Sometimes, this inflammation can happen abnormally, affecting normal tissue. Sometimes, this can happen in the intestines, which can cause chronic diarrhea.

    This can be a chronic condition with relapses. If treatment is started, symptoms usually resolve within a few weeks.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), stomach bloating
    Symptoms that always occur with microscopic colitis:
    diarrhea
    Symptoms that never occur with microscopic colitis:
    bloody diarrhea
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Food Poisoning by the Staphylococcus Bacteria

    Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that can be spread by food workers who handle food without washing their hands, and can also be found in unpasteurized milk and cheese products. Infection with this bacterium causes a stomach and intestinal illness in a short period of time, with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea.

    Non-contagious illness usually lasting for 1 day (may take up to 3 days in rare cases).

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), vomiting
    Symptoms that always occur with food poisoning by the staphylococcus bacteria:
    nausea or vomiting
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  7. 7.Traveler's Diarrhea

    Traveler's diarrhea is a digestive tract disorder that commonly causes loose stools and abdominal cramps. It's caused by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.

    Usually resolves within 3 to 5 days without antibiotics.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), fever, stomach bloating
    Symptoms that always occur with traveler's diarrhea:
    diarrhea
    Symptoms that never occur with traveler's diarrhea:
    anxiety
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  8. 8.Shigella Infection

    Shigella infection is an acute bacterial infection caused by a group of bacteria called shigella. The infection affects the intestines and can be passed through direct contact with the bacteria in the stool.

    4 to 6 weeks

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    diarrhea, general abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, watery diarrhea, fatigue
    Symptoms that always occur with shigella infection:
    diarrhea
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  9. 9.Intestinal Infection With Ameba Parasite

    Visiting or living in places with poor sanitation can lead to parasite infections that can cause long-lasting diarrhea and stomach pain.

    More than 90% of the time, parasites goes away on its own over the course of 6 weeks.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation, general abdominal pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

FAQs About Watery Diarrhea

Here are some frequently asked questions about watery diarrhea.

Why do I have watery diarrhea after eating?

Watery diarrhea following eating is commonly caused by food allergies, pathogens, or even characteristics of the types of foods consumed. For example, prunes contain a large amount of indigestible sugar that causes water to be pulled from the gut into the stool, causing loose stools. Allergies may also cause an inability of the cells of the gut to absorb liquid (e.g. celiac disease), and pathogens may also disrupt the gut's ability to absorb indigestible sugars. Inflammatory bowel diseases can also cause watery diarrhea after meals.

Can certain foods cause watery diarrhea?

Yes, certain foods may definitely cause watery diarrhea. Prunes, for example, with their large amount of indigestible sugar, can cause watery diarrhea as the sugar pulls water osmotically into the stool, diluting it. Other foods that commonly cause watery stool includes milk for those that are lactose intolerant, as well as artificial sugars.

How long does travelers diarrhea last?

Traveler's diarrhea, or an infection with Entero Toxigenic E. Coli (ETEC) usually lasts one to three days, but can last as long as three or four days in more severe cases. It is caused by ingestion of ETEC from contaminated food or water which can interrupt the body's ability to absorb water, causing profuse watery diarrhea.

Why do I have blood in my diarrhea?

Blood in diarrhea can be caused by bacteria that both disrupts the body's ability to absorb water and disrupts the lining of the gut, causing the cells along the inner walls of the gut to slough off. Generally, bacteria that cause blood or mucus are known as invasive bacteria, and can include many types of E. Coli as well as salmonella and shigella.Bloody diarrhea also occurs with inflammatory bowel disease and poor blood flow to the bowels (ischemic colitis).

When should you seek medical attention for diarrhea?

You should seek medical attention if you have symptoms for longer than five days, if you have profuse amounts of blood in your stool, if you are having trouble staying hydrated, or if you are having symptoms of dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include but are not limited to weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, change in consciousness, changes in vision, or general pallor.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Watery Diarrhea

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Have you experienced any nausea?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Have you lost your appetite recently?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our watery diarrhea symptom checker to find out more.

Take Quiz

Watery Diarrhea Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced watery diarrhea have also experienced:

    • 21% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
    • 9% Nausea
    • 9% Abdominal Cramps (Stomach Cramps)
  • People who have experienced watery diarrhea had symptoms persist for:

    • 38% Less Than a Week
    • 37% Less Than a Day
    • 10% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced watery diarrhea were most often matched with:

    • 33% Viral (Norovirus) Infection
    • 33% Food Poisoning
    • 33% Diarrhea Caused by a Bacteria Called Vibrio
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having watery diarrhea

Take Quiz