The most common cause of diarrhea is a mild viral infection that resolves on its own within a few days, usually known as the "stomach flu". Two other common causes of diarrhea is from food poisoning and traveler's diarrhea. They occur from eating food or drinking water contaminated with organisms like bacteria and parasites. Medications can also cause diarrhea, especially antibiotics, laxatives containing magnesium, and chemotherapy for cancer treatment.
Last reviewed 1/27/2012 by George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
- The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.
- A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.
- Call 911 for all medical emergencies.
- Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.