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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 73
   Posted 4/9/2008 12:29 PM (GMT -7)   
I finally saw my regular doctor about my persistant diarrhea.  She didn't seem to think that it would have anything to do with not having my gallbladder, since it didn't really start until 18 mos after I had it out. 
So she did some bloodwork and a stool culture, which came back negative for any bacterial infections or parasites or anything.  My bloodwork came back negative for Celiac, but apparently I have really low potassium.  I guess mine is 3.2 and the low range of normal is 3.6.  So she's concerned about that, and I have a recheck on Monday.   
First question ... besides bananas, what foods are good for potassium?  I gag at the very thought of bananas.  OJ too.  I've Googled it, but none of the lists I came across are from sites that I consider "reputable."  Plus, I keep seeing potatoes on the list, but does it matter what type of potatoes?  I could seriously eat a baked potato every single day of my life.  Yum.  But am I correct in thinking that it's the skin that contains all the nutrients, so I would have to eat the skin to get any benefits?
Second question ... she said I should probably see a GI for my persistant D, which is fine, but I'm newly (very newly) pregnant.  So, is there any benefit to calling the GI now?  Are there any tests they can do now, or would I have to wait anyway?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 4/9/2008 12:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Being pregnant, your bowels are probably going to go here, there and everywhere. Sometimes, though, women actually have great bowels while pregnant. You never know, and this month may very well be different from next month. I would think it would be hard to treat a pregnant woman becuase how much are hormones that you can't do anything about? What medicines can you take? Personally, I think I would start with my gyno/ob (unless that's who you just saw) and see what she thinks, then see a GI if she thinks he might could help more. Whatever your GI recommends will need to be seconded by your gyno/ob anyways, so might as well make sure you have the two working together.

Also, make sure your gyno/ob knows about the potassium defeciency, because you may need to get on some pre-natal vitamins right away for it... or it may be normal for a pregnant woman.

If you still have diarrhea after the baby, see if you can get a GI to give you Welchol or something like that; it pretty well fixed my diarrhea problem post-gall bladder.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 4/9/2008 12:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Having persistent diarrhea can lead to low potassium and yes, it's very important that you work to correct this. 3.2 is not dangerously low, but low enough. You want to be somewhere between 3.5 and 5.0. Bananas are a good start and like you said, potatoes are even better (with the skin). Sweet potatoes are great too. Melons, tomatoes, avocados, spinach, fish, and certain nuts are good sources as well. Look for 300 mg of potassium or more per serving.

It'd probably be a good idea to see a GI if your diarrhea is resulting in abnormally low serum potassium levels.
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Please always remember to consult your medical professional regarding your medical questions; this forum is intended to provide patient-to-patient support. Although some of us have healthcare backgrounds, we cannot diagnose or treat patients on the board.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 73
   Posted 4/9/2008 1:28 PM (GMT -7)   


Thanks for the quick replies.

The doctor I saw for the diarrhea was just my general primary care physician.  I see the NP at my ob/gyn's office next Wednesday.

I think what I will do is go back for my potassium recheck on Monday with my regular doctor, and then ask my ob/gyn's office what they think about contacting the GI spec.  I have no relationship with my regular doctor - I honestly just chose her from my hmo website because I needed to pick someone, and at the time she had evening hours.  Until recently, I've never needed a regular doctor aside from dx'ing the occasional strep or bronchitis.   I've been with my ob/gyn office for more than fifteen years, and I've already had one child with them. 

I just want to make sure I'm being responsible about all this.  I don't want to be cavalier or anything, if the D could still be something significant.  I'm glad that the tests she ran came back negative, but of course I'm still nervous that there's something even more serious going on, and I'm afraid of ignoring it, you know?  But, if D is just a weird fact of life for me right now, I don't mind putting off the GI for a while, especially if there's not much they can do while I'm pregnant.

Obviously, I'm going to try to up my potassium as much as I can.  I've been taking prenatals forever.  I stopped for a few weeks to see if my D would improve - it didn't, so I started taking them again.  I'm also banking on pregnancy firming things up a bit for a while.  That would be great! 

Thanks for your help!


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