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Diarrhea treatment, diagnosis & prescriptions

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What causes diarrhea?

Everyone has diarrhea occasionally — loose, watery and more frequent bowel movements. In most cases, diarrhea lasts several days. But if diarrhea lasts for weeks, it can indicate a serious disorder, such as a chronic infection, inflammatory bowel disease, or irritable bowel syndrome.

Diarrhea is often caused by a viral stomach infection such as an intestinal or stomach flu.

Other causes include:

  • Allergy or intolerance to some foods
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Diabetes
  • Difficulty absorbing nutrients
  • Digestive system surgery
  • Food that has upset the stomach
  • Food poisoning
  • Intestinal Diseases (Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative colitis)
  • Laxative abuse
  • Overactive thyroid
  • Some cancers
  • Some medicines
  • Radiation therapy
  • Running
What are the symptoms of diarrhea?
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Loose, watery stools
  • Bloating
  • Blood in the stool
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Urgent need to have a bowel movement

To prevent diarrhea, wash your hands often, especially:

  • after using the bathroom;
  • after changing diapers;
  • after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose;
  • before and after preparing a meal.
How can I treat diarrhea?

Diarrhea does not usually require prescription medication, and will go away on its own.  Drinking water or beverages with electrolytes (sports drinks) can help replace your fluids and keep you hydrated.

Having said that, taking over the counter medications like Imodium (loperamide) can greatly reduce the severity of symptoms, and the frequency of bowel movements.

If your diarrhea is caused by a bacterial infection or parasites, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics.

You should see a doctor if:

  • There is blood or pus in your diarrhea or your stool is black
  • You experience a fever above 38 °C (101 °F)
  • Your diarrhea lasts longer than 2 days
  • You can’t keep fluids down because of nausea or vomiting
  • You have severe stomach or rectal pain
  • You experience diarrhea after a trip to a new country
  • You show signs of extreme dehydration (fatigue, increased heart rate, headache, lightheadedness, dark urine)

Meet our doctors

Our physicians are Canadian licensed and practice family or emergency medicine right here in Canada.

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Dr. Marni Brooks

Dr. Marni Brooks

Family Physician, Toronto

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Dr. Tanja Vlahovich

Dr. Tanja Vlahovich

ER Physician, Toronto

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Dr. Peter Iracleous

Dr. Peter Iracleous

ER Physician, Toronto

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Dr. Mark D’Souza

Dr. Mark D’Souza

ER Physician, Toronto

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Dr. Bharat Bahl

Dr. Bharat Bahl

ER Physician, Toronto

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Dr. Paul Medve

Dr. Paul Medve

ER Physician, Simcoe

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Dr. Lana Grigoriou

Dr. Lana Grigoriou

ER Physician, Toronto

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Dr. Michael Verbora

Dr. Michael Verbora

Family Physician, Toronto

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Dr. Gita Kruger

Dr. Gita Kruger

Family & Urgent Care, Calgary

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Dr. Kate McLachlin

Dr. Kate McLachlin

Family Physician, Toronto

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What is Maple?

With Maple, you can start talking to a doctor about your symptoms in a matter of minutes. We’re a healthcare app for fast, convenient 24/7 access to Canadian doctors.

You simply log in, tap a button to request a consultation, and we’ll immediately connect you to a doctor via live chat or video.

Our doctors can assess symptoms, and provide treatment, including prescriptions as necessary.

You can visit our How it Works page to learn more.

Can a doctor treat diarrhea on Maple?

Yes. In most cases, a Maple doctor can diagnose diarrhea online by asking about your symptoms and conditions. 

Once you describe your symptoms to the doctor, they will be able to diagnose, prescribe appropriate medication, and recommend an appropriate course of treatment. 

Treatments you may receive from a doctor on Maple may include Imodium (loperamide), which slows down intestinal motility and can quickly resolve cases of benign diarrhea. The doctor may also prescribe anti-vomiting medications such as Zofran (Ondansetron). These are highly effective medications that dissolve under your tongue and can provide full relief in as little as 30 minutes.

If your diarrhea is consistent with an acute infection, your doctor may recommend rapid treatment with antibiotics (such as Ciprofloxacin), and close follow up in an in-person clinical setting.

If the doctor suspects you have a more serious problem, they may suggest you go to a clinic for a thorough in-person examination.

Can I get a prescription on Maple?

Yes, our physicians can prescribe medications online during your consultation. Once you accept a prescription, you’ll have the option to pick it up from any pharmacy or we’ll deliver it right to your door at no additional cost.

You can visit our How it Works page to learn more.

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The service is so quick and professional and saves hours spent in a walk-in-clinic. This is a game changer for busy moms and I recommend it to everyone!

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Instead of my husband having to drag both kids to the hospital or walk in alone he was able to see a doctor right away and get a prescription faxed to our local pharmacy.

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Our family has used this service twice so far and it has been amazing. Both doctors were friendly, compassionate and you never feel rushed.

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Was concerned I wouldn’t be able to see a doctor without an appointment. I installed the Maple app, spoke to a doctor and had my prescription in under 30 min.

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I used Maple for the first time today. It was quick and easy, took less than ten minutes including connecting time and the doctor was professional and friendly. 

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Absolutely blown away. It was SO easy to use. No wait time getting connected with a doctor. Getting the prescription faxed to the pharmacy made it a seamless process.

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