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Diarrhea Specialist

Leo Treyzon, MD

Gastroenterologist & Clinical Nutrition Specialist located in Cedars-Sinai Medical Towers & Santa Monica, Los Angeles, CA

Dr. Treyzon is skilled in providing the most advanced and most effective diagnostic and care options for patients from the Cedars Sinai Medical Towers, Los Angeles and Santa Monica, CA, area who suffer from chronic or recurrent diarrhea, helping patients relieve symptoms and avoid potentially dangerous side effects like dehydration.

Diarrhea Q&A

What is Diarrhea?

Nearly everyone has occasional “loose bowels” as a result of stress, food sensitivities or a relatively minor illness, and in those cases, symptoms typically resolve on their own. But is there a certain number or quality of bowel movements that gives it the name “diarrhea”? If you are experiencing watery stool, unformed stool, or even loose stool on a regular basis, these could all qualify as diarrhea. You might have this type of stool and have multiple bowel movements a day, or only one. When these symptoms occur on a regular basis, it is called chronic diarrhea. 

When diarrhea is chronic, it can result in dehydration and metabolic imbalances – and it can also be a sign of a serious disease or condition. Young children and elderly patients should be seen more quickly since dehydration can set in more rapidly in these patients. It is therefore important to be evaluated for the cause of chronic diarrhea by a medical professional.

What Causes Diarrhea?

Diarrhea can have many causes; however, some primary causes include:

  • Food sensitivities or allergies
  • Infection (bacterial or viral)
  • Traveler’s diarrhea
  • Stress
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (crohn’s and colitis)
  • Celiac disease
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Prescription drugs
  • Chemical laxatives
  • SIBO

What Should I Do if I Have Diarrhea?

If you experience regular diarrhea, you should be evaluated for the presence of a digestive disorder or disease that could be causing these symptoms. During your evaluation, you'll be asked about your symptoms, how often they occur, and if they're accompanied by pain or other symptoms. You'll also be asked to provide a medical history to look for clues. It is important to mention any unusual foods you may have consumed as well as medications or supplements you are taking, as these can often cause diarrhea. If you've traveled recently, be sure to mention that in your exam, because some destinations may be associated with diseases or infections that can cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. This will usually be followed by a physical exam and bloodwork. Further testing depends heavily on the severity, nature, and duration of the condition.

There are a number of different stool tests available to rule out parasites and other infections. Imaging such as x-ray, ultrasound, or CT can be useful. If warranted, a colonoscopy can be performed to look for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and rule out colorectal cancer. A pillcam capsule endoscopy is sometimes preformed to further rule out crohn’s, as this procedure can visualize parts of the small bowel unseen on a colonoscopy. Allergy testing is available for suspected food sensitivities and intolerances.

What Treatments are Available for Diarrhea?

Treatment depends on the cause of the diarrhea. Diet modification may be helpful for food sensitivities or intolerances. Antibiotics may be recommended for bacterial infection, traveller’s diarrhea, or SIBO. If the problem is due to a medication of chemical laxative, avoidance is recommended if possible. Over-the-counter or prescription antidiarrheal medication is often used for those with severe diarrhea.

Insurances We Work With

Here is a list of just some of the plans we work with -- depending on your insurance plan, your co-pay due upon the visit is variable. You might be responsible for a small co-pay like $10, or you might be responsible for the full amount. It is dependent on your insurance unmet deductible, which insurance network you are in, and other insurance factors. Please contact our office if you have any questions. We can verify on the phone what your co-pay would be. Please note that we are not contracted with Medicare. If a claim is submitted to your insurance, we submit the necessary billing forms ourselves.

Anthem Blue Cross of California
Director's Guild (DGA)
Motion Picture Industry Health Plan
United Healthcare
Writers Guild