​Diarrhoea ​


Diarrhoea is a digestive disorder related to bowel movements in which the stool becomes loose and watery and the frequency of passing stool increases. Diarrhoea may occur in one of the following two forms:

  • Acute Diarrhoea: this is short-lived and only last for 1-3 days. It may occur due to a viral infection or by consuming unsafe and unhygienic food and water containing pathogenic bacteria. 

  • Chronic Diarrhoea: this is a more severe form of diarrhoea, is long-lived and continues for many weeks. It may be caused due to any existing disease or food intolerances. 

Diarrhoea is often related to malabsorption in which the small intestine is unable to absorb nutrients from the food, which results in watery stools and lack of nutrients from the body. Diarrhoea lasting up to several days may result in dehydration (loss of water from body); worsening the patient’s health by disturbing the nutrient balance in the body. ​

Following are the symptoms of diarrhoea:

  • Watery stool

  • Increase in bowel movement

  • Cramps and bloating in stomach

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Stomach pain

  • Unable to control bowel movement

  • In more severe and chronic conditions, stool may also contain mucus, undigested food and blood​

If you notice any of the above symptoms, inform your doctor at the Family Health or Children's Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital. Our doctors will be able to guide you through the prognosis and suggest a relevant form of treatment.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

The doctor will carry out certain tests and analysis for a proper diagnosis. Assessing the medical history of the patient and physical examination are the basic steps, after which, if needed, the doctor will carry out certain tests to determine the severity of diarrhoea. These tests include:

  • Stool Culture: To check if any harmful bacteria has infected the digestive tract and is causing diarrhoea by analysing stool sample in laboratory. 

  • Colonoscopy: To view the colon (large intestine) and check for any abnormal growth, swelling or bleeding, by entering a colonoscope through the rectum to the colon. 

  • Sigmoidoscopy: To view the inside of the colon and check for causes of diarrhoea; by entering a sigmoidoscope into the colon which blows air into it so that it can be viewed properly.​

Treatment may vary according to the severity of diarrhoea. Some simple treatments include:

  • Increase in intake of water and other fluids like juices and broths

  • Increase in nutritional food consumption

  • Medicines

  • Avoiding foods that increase chances of diarrhoea​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.




The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.