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Diarrhea in New Jersey

Diarrhea is common. The Digestive Health & Nutrition Center has two convenient locations in Lawrenceville and Princeton, New Jersey where you can receive the exceptional care you deserve. Angela Merlo, MD is an experienced Gastroenterologist and expert in the diagnosis and treatment of diarrhea in adults and children.

What is Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is the term used to describe a change in bowel habits to more frequent stools or looser consistency of stools. Acute diarrhea lasts less than 14-days, persistent diarrhea lasts between 14-days and 30-days and chronic diarrhea is diarrhea for longer than 30-days duration. The causes vary. Most cases of acute diarrhea are infectious from either bacteria or viruses and resolve within a few days without treatment. Chronic diarrhea or recurrent diarrhea may indicate a serious underlying medical condition.

Do I Need a Gastroenterology Specialist for My Diarrhea?

Diarrhea that has sudden onset, lasts only a few days, is not associated with severe pain or weakness and does not recur is usually handled by conservative measures of rest and increased fluids. Alarm symptoms indicating the need for a Gastroenterology specialist are:

  • Abdominal pain that is severe
  • Blood in stool
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • More than 6-stools per day
  • Patients who are elderly or have other serious medical conditions
  • Persistent, chronic or recurrent diarrhea
  • Recent antibiotic use
  • Recurrent diarrhea
  • Weight Loss


What Causes Diarrhea?

Sudden onset diarrhea is usually caused by infection with bacteria or virus. Persistent diarrhea may indicate a reduced capacity to resolve the infection without medical intervention or the onset of a more chronic digestive disorder. Some of the digestive causes of chronic diarrhea or recurrent diarrhea are:

What is the Treatment for My Diarrhea?

The treatment for any diarrhea must insure adequate replacement of fluids and protein that have been lost in the diarrhea. Acute diarrhea from an infection usually does not require antibiotics. The treatment of persistent or chronic diarrhea depends on the cause. Dr. Merlo is expert at providing an accurate diagnosis so she can formulate a proper treatment plan to restore health. Dr. Merlo utilizes blood tests and at times breath tests or colonoscopy to obtain the information necessary to reach an accurate diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is assured, Dr. Merlo will formulate a comprehensive treatment plan for your particular medical condition.

If you or your children are experiencing diarrhea and seek a specialist in adult or pediatric Gastroenterology, contact the Digestive Health & Nutrition Center in Lawrenceville or Princeton, New Jersey for an appointment with Dr. Merlo.