Diarrhea vs Loose Stool: Difference and Comparison

Health complaints are associated with various issues in the body. Diarrhea and loose stool are two common terms that might be confusing due to the similarities of the medical condition. Diarrhea and loose stool can be more dangerous. One needs to be aware of the issues and outcomes.

Key Takeaways

  1. Diarrhea presents as watery, frequent bowel movements, while loose stools are soft and poorly formed.
  2. Infections, food intolerance, and certain medications can cause diarrhea, whereas loose stools may result from dietary choices or stress.
  3. Diarrhea requires medical attention if it persists or worsens, while loose stools resolve independently with minor lifestyle changes.

Diarrhea vs Loose Stool

Diarrhea is passing looser, watery, or more frequent stools than normal. It is considered as diarrhea if you have loose stools more frequently (three or more times per day). Loose stool is watery, mushy, or shapeless bowel movements that appear softer than normal and may have a strong or foul odor.

Diarrhea vs Loose Stool

This frequent bowel movement and stool consistency will lead to diarrhea which can be chronic and acute, and in some cases, it could be life-threatening too.

The loose stool on the other side is watery and comparatively loose than normal. This health issue is not associated with life-threatening.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonDiarrheaLoose Stool
What is it?Diarrhea is a frequent bowel movement followed by more than three loose stools in a day.Loose stool is watery and comparatively loose than normal
FrequencyIt includes a minimum of three loose stools in a dayLoose stools have less than three stools in a day
SymptomsBloating, watery stools, abdominal pain, weight loss, severe rectum pain, rapid heart rate, irritability, etc.Urgent bowel movement, abdominal pain, loose stools, which is comparatively watery, etc.
Causesfood poisoning, infections, food allergies, endocrine disease, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, etc.Drinks, infections, medications, indigestion, upset stomach, food poisoning, etc.
Treatmentoral rehydration solution, medications, antibiotics, etc.Home remedies, antibiotics, medications, etc.

What is Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is one of the common health issues which can be potentially life-threatening if considered lightly. In this condition, a person suffers from more than three loose stools in a day.

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The major symptoms of diarrhea include urgent bowel movement, watery stools, bloating, cramps, abdominal pain, loose stools, etc. Diarrhea can be more severe, accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Mucus or blood in the stool
  • Deficiency in urine discharged
  • Weight loss
  • Dark urine
  • Headache etc.

Diarrhea can be caused by various reasons and medical conditions. Usually, acute diarrhea is caused by infections that can be parasitic, viral, or bacterial and last for a few days.


What is Loose Stool?

Loose stool is a quite common health issue that is not life-threatening and comes into existence or is caused by infections, food poisoning, indigestions, food allergies, etc.

Loose stool can be treated with home remedies. The other treatment can involve medications, antibiotics, and oral rehydration solution, and no special treatment is required majorly.

loose stool

Main Differences Between Diarrhea and Loose Stool

  1. It is important to notice that diarrhea is categorized into acute and chronic and could be life-threatening, but loose stool is not life-threatening.
  2. Diarrhea and loose stool are treatable health issues. The medical aspect is capable enough to treat various medical concerns and researching well to evaluate more specific solutions.
Difference Between Diarrhea and Loose Stool
  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/384327
  2. https://academic.oup.com/jac/article-abstract/36/4/673/686177

Last Updated : 20 July, 2023

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