What is Chronic Diarrhea?

Chronic diarrhea is defined as loose stools that last for at least four weeks, with at least one stood experienced per day. Chronic Diarrhea can have a hugely negative impact on someone’s quality of life and overall health. Diarrhea can be placed on a spectrum. When mild it can be an inconvenience, but when severe it can be disabling and even life threatening. It is important to seek adequate treatment when you experience frequent diarrhea so it does not become severe.

Symptoms of Chronic Diarrhea:

Signs of chronic diarrhea and its associated symptoms may include:

  • Loose, watery stools.
  • Fever.
  • Nausea.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Blood in the stool.
  • Bloating.
  • Urgent need to have a bowel movement.

Causes of Chronic Diarrhea:

A wide-range of problems can cause chronic diarrhea. These can range from gastrointestinal conditions, such as Crohn disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), to chronic infections.

Food allergy or sensitivity:

  • Sucrase deficiency - leads to the inability of carbohydrates to be broken down in the small intestines, which then pass into the large intestines. This may result result in symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, and chronic diarrhea.
  • Celiac disease - a sensitivity to gluten, which can cause diarrhea and weight loss.
  • Lactose intolerance - diarrhea and gas may be experienced upon consumption of milk and dairy products.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is one of the most common causes of chronic diarrhea. It can cause abdominal cramps and pain and changes in bowel patterns (diarrhea, constipation, or both).

Irritable Bowel Disease

There exist several types of inflammatory bowel disease, two of which are Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis. These may arise from an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks parts of the digestive tract.

Medicines

Medicines, herbs, and dietary supplements can cause diarrhea as a side effect. To determine if the medicine you’re taking is causing your diarrhea please consult your doctor.

Infections

Chronic diarrhea can be seen in those that consumed unpasteurized “raw” milk and contaminated food and water.

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