Difference Between Diarrhea and Loose Stool (With Table)

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.

Diarrhea vs Loose Stool

The difference between Diarrhea and loose stool is that Diarrhea is one of the common health complaints that derives from mild and temporary conditions to life-threatening. In this condition, the person observes consistency in the stools resulting in more than three loose stools in a day. On the contrary, the loose stool is a health issue in which the stool is more watery and in a loose form than normal. This medical condition is not linked with serious health risks.

Diarrhea is a health issue in which the person suffering from more than three loose stools in a day. 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.

Loose stool on the other side is watery and comparatively loose than normal. This health issue is not associated with life-threatening. Common symptoms of this issue include abdominal pain, bloating, cramps, watery stools, etc. The severity of loose stools is a mild condition that can be treated with medication, home remedies, and antibiotics.

Comparison Table Between Diarrhea and Loose Stool

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. This includes bowel movement and consistent stools. Diarrhea can be considered acute or chronic, depending on various aspects. On one side, acute lasts for few days, and on the other side, it usually takes nearly three weeks to recover from chronic.

The major symptoms of diarrhea include urgent bowel movement, watery stools, bloating, cramps, abdominal pain, loose stools, etc. Diarrhea can be more severe, accompanied with 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 few days. It can also be caused by food poisoning and food allergies. On the other side, chronic diarrhea takes nearly three weeks to recover.

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. In this medical issue, the stools observe to be more watery and majorly loose than normal. The common symptoms of loose stool include abdominal pain, bloating, loose and watery stools, cramps, etc.

Loose stool can be treated with home remedies. The other treatment can involve medications, antibiotics, oral rehydration solution, and no special treatment is required majorly. The person suffering from loose stool drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration situation. Diet change can also play a significant role in curing loose stool.

Main Differences Between Diarrhea and Loose Stool

  1. Diarrhea and loose stool are two confusing terms that are commonly found among people. It is important to be aware of their differences as one may have life-threatening effects on your health. Diarrhea is a frequent bowel movement followed by more than three loose stools in a day, and it may vary from mild to life-threatening. On the contrary, Loose stool is watery and comparatively loose than normal and can occur up to three stools a day.
  2. The major difference between these two medical conditions or health issues is their frequency. Diarrhea is also a condition in which a person experiences loose and watery stools, but if a person experiences a minimum of three stools in a day, then only it is considered as diarrhea. If the frequency of stools is up to three in a day, then it is loose stool.
  3. The best way to determine a health issue is to be aware of their symptoms. Although diarrhea and loose stool have some common symptoms, there are some differences too. The symptoms of diarrhea include Bloating, watery stools, abdominal pain, weight loss, severe rectum pain, rapid heart rate, irritability, etc. On the other side, symptoms of loose stool include urgent bowel movement, abdominal pain, loose stools, which are comparatively watery, etc.
  4. 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. The causes of this health issue may vary from each other, and some are similar as well. Food poisoning, infections, food allergies, endocrine disease, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, etc., are some major causes of diarrhea. On the contrary, causes of loose stool include several drinks, infections, medications, indigestion, upset stomach, food poisoning, etc.
  5. 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. Treatment of diarrhea includes oral rehydration solution, medications, antibiotics, etc. On the other side, home remedies, antibiotics, medications, etc., are considered reliable treatments for loose stool.

Conclusion

Diarrhea and loose stool are somehow similar medical issues that are caused by various specific causes, which include food poisoning, infections, food allergies, endocrine disease, inflammatory bowel disease, etc. It is important to understand the frequency of stools which create a major difference in determining whether a person is suffering from loose stool or diarrhea. It is advisable to take the proper treatment at the right time because diarrhea is dangerous than a loose stool and can be life-threatening. With proper treatment and timely recognition of the symptoms, one can easily cure the health issue.

References

  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/384327
  2. https://academic.oup.com/jac/article-abstract/36/4/673/686177
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