The stages of diarrhea indicate the severity of the condition to determine if the patient needs immediate attention. For the early stages, patients may be advised to use over-the-counter medications, while the later stages require hospitalization.
These are the stages of diarrhea according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI):
- Stage 1: An increase of less than 4 stools a day
- Stage 2: An increase of 4 to 6 stools a day
- Stage 3: An increase of more than 7 stools a day, incontinence or a reduced ability to care for daily needs. At this stage, hospitalization is recommended.
- Stage 4: a life-threatening condition develops requiring immediate intensive care.