Is diarrhea fatal?

Diarrhea is extremely common, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be dangerous. In extreme cases of diarrhea, you can become very dehydrated and this can lead to serious complications. Dehydration is one of the most dangerous side effects of diarrhea. In the very young (infants and small children) and the very old, this can have serious consequences. It’s important to drink plenty of fluids with electrolytes when you have diarrhea. This allows your body to replace the fluid and electrolytes that are lost with the diarrhea.

In some parts of the world, diarrhea is a life-threatening condition because of dehydration and electrolyte loss.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/13/2020.

References

  • US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diarrhea. Accessed 4/17/2020.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diarrhea: Common Illness, Global Killer. Accessed 4/17/2020.
  • Merck Manual Professional Version. Diarrhea. Accessed 4/17/2020.

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