"also spelled diarrhoea abnormally swift passage of waste material through
the large intestine, with consequent discharge of loose feces from the anus.
Diarrhea may be accompanied by cramping. The disorder has a wide range of
causes. It may, for example, result from bacterial or viral infection; from
dysentery, either amoebic or bacillary; from impaired absorption of nutrients;
from eating coarse or highly seasoned foods or drinking large quantities of
alcoholic beverages; from poisons such as arsenic or mercury bichloride; or from
drugs administered to reduce high blood pressure. Excessive amounts of thyroid
hormones, parathyroid hormone deficiencies, irritable bowel syndrome, and uremia
(an excess of nitrogenous wastes in the blood) all may cause diarrhea. Most
cases of diarrhea are not serious and do not require treatment; dehydration can
be prevented by drinking plenty of clear liquids. Diarrhea caused by an
infection can often be treated with antibiotics."