Diarrhoea (or diarrhea) is when you pass looser or more frequent stools than you do normally. It can be unpleasant, but it's common in people of all ages and is usually nothing to worry about unless it persists and you become dehydrated. In most cases, the cause of diarrhoea is an infection of the bowel, otherwise known as gastroenteritis. For most adults, diarrhoea will clear up in 2-4 days, without the need for treatment.
During this time, good hygiene is essential to avoid prolonging the symptoms and passing harmful germs on to others – see our prevention tips below for more information.
If you have persistent diarrhoea, it can be a symptom of a more serious health issue. You should visit your GP so a doctor can establish a cause.