Monday, July 15, 2024

What Does Constant Diarrhea Mean

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Acute Diarrhea After Meals

Chronic Diarrhea: Approach to Cause, Secretory vs Osmotic vs Inflammatory, Watery vs Bloody Diarrhea

Acute diarrhea is a common problem that typically resolves on its own after one or two days.

The simple act of eating causes the muscles in your large intestine to contract and empty your bowels. When you have an infection, food poisoning, IBS, or another underlying condition, these contractions may be stronger and more painful than usual.

Stronger contractions may also cause you to feel that you urgently need to empty your bowels.

What Are The Causes Of Diarrhea After Drinking Alcohol

When you drink alcohol, it travels to your stomach. If theres food in your stomach, alcohol will be absorbed along with some of the nutrients of the food into your bloodstream through the cells in the stomach wall. This slows the digestion of the alcohol.

If you havent eaten, the alcohol will continue to your small intestine where it similarly passes through the cells of the intestinal wall, but at a much quicker rate. This is why you feel more of a buzz, and faster, when you drink on an empty stomach.

However, eating foods that are hard on your body, such as those that are very fibrous or very greasy, can also speed up digestion.

Once most of the alcohol is absorbed, the rest is excreted from your body through your stool and urine. Your colon muscles move in a coordinated squeeze to push the stool out.

Alcohol speeds up the rate of these squeezes, which doesnt allow for water to be absorbed by your colon as it is normally. This causes your stool to come out as diarrhea, often very quickly and with a lot of extra water.

Scientists have found that drinking small amounts of alcohol tends to speed up the rate of digestion, causing diarrhea.

On the other end of the spectrum, drinking large amounts of alcohol can delay digestion and cause constipation.

Alcohol can also irritate your digestive tract, worsening diarrhea. Scientists have found this occurs most often with wine, which tends to kill off helpful bacteria in the intestines.

  • rice
  • chicken

Causes Of Constant Diarrhea

Various factors contribute to the onset. These include infections from bacteria, viruses, and parasites. However, these are not the only causes. Below are some of the main causes.

  • Infections – Bacteria, such as, salmonella, E. coli and campylobacter, residing in contaminated foods and water, are common culprits that cause chronic diarrhea. Viral infections also can cause diarrhea. The herpes simplex virus, viral hepatitis, and the norovirus can cause chronic diarrhea.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Chronic diarrhea is a common symptom of IBS. Stress and certain foods trigger this condition. Currently, there is no cure for IBS, although identifying the stressors and triggers of IBS may help deal with the frequency of the occurrences.
  • Food Intolerances – Some people may experience diarrhea due to their inability to digest certain ingredients in foods. For example, persons who are lactose intolerant often suffer with diarrhea once they have consumed milk or other dairy products. Other types of food intolerances that cause diarrhea are reactions to certain types of foods, medicines and fructose.
  • Intestinal Diseases – These diseases include inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and gallbladder disease.
  • Others – Other causes include tumors, altered immune function, low blood supply to the intestine and hereditary disorders, such as, cystic fibrosis
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    Treatment For Watery Diarrhea

    Treatments for watery diarrhea vary widely, though they all have the same starting point: stay hydrated. Depending on the eventual cause of watery diarrhea and how long it lasts, you may end up taking antibiotics or undergoing a colonoscopy to examine your intestines for signs of inflammatory disease.

    Whats The Difference Between Normal Diarrhea And Severe Diarrhea

    What It Means to Have Chronic Diarrhea

    There are actually several different ways to classify diarrhea. These types of diarrhea include:

    • Acute diarrhea: The most common, acute diarrhea is loose watery diarrhea that lasts one to two days. This type doesnt need treatment and it usually goes away after a few days.
    • Persistent diarrhea: This type of diarrhea generally persists for several weeks two to four weeks
    • Chronic diarrhea: Diarrhea that lasts for more than four weeks or comes and goes regularly over a long period of time is called chronic diarrhea.

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    Children Younger Than 12 Years

    Dosage should be based on weight. If the childs weight is not known, dosage should be based on age. When using either weight or age, use the following information:

    • Children 60-95 pounds : 2 mg to start, then 1 mg after each loose stool that occurs after that. Dont take more than 6 mg per day.
    • Children 48-59 pounds : 2 mg to start, then 1 mg after each loose stool that occurs after that. Dont take more than 4 mg per day.
    • Children 29-47 pounds : Use Imodium only by the advice of your childs doctor.
    • Children under 2 years: Do not give Imodium to children younger than 2 years of age.

    Imodium is generally well-tolerated by many people. However, it can sometimes cause some side effects.

    How Common Is Bile Acid Diarrhea

    Bile acid diarrhea is more common than you think. And it is often misdiagnosed as IBS-D

    The following facts and statistics will help you imagine the amplitude of BAD:

    • About 25 to 50% of patients diagnosed with IBS-diarrhea actually have BAD %20is,the%20population%20may%20have%20BAD.” rel=”nofollow”> reference).
    • It is estimated that about 1% of the population may have BAD.
    • It is estimated that about 64% of patients with Functional diarrhea have BAD 30209-1/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”> reference).
    • Up to 35% of people with a condition called microscopic colitis have BAD 30209-1/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”> reference).

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    How Do You Diagnose Diarrhea

    For the majority of mild diarrhea cases, you wont need medical attention. These cases are self-limited and get better without medical intervention. The key to mild diarrhea is supportive therapy staying hydrated and eating a bland diet.

    More serious cases of diarrhea may require medical attention. In these situations, there are a few diagnostic tests that your provider may order. These tests can include:

    • Discussing a detailed family history, as well as physical and medical conditions, your travel history, and any sick contacts you may have.
    • Doing a stool test on a collected stool sample to check for blood, bacterial infections, parasite and inflammatory markers.
    • Doing a breath test to check for lactose or fructose intolerance, and bacterial overgrowth.
    • Doing blood work to rule out medical causes of diarrhea such as a thyroid disorder, celiac sprue and pancreatic disorders.
    • Doing endoscopic evaluations of your upper and lower digestive tract to rule out organic abnormalities .

    Is Frequent Diarrhea A Sign Of Cancer


    Medically reviewed by Dr. Kenneth Knowles, MD on July 16th, 2021

    Is Frequent Diarrhea a Sign of Cancer?

    Diarrhea is a commonyet extremely unpleasantcondition. Although diarrhea is usually characterized by frequent loose or watery bowel movements, it can also cause symptoms such as a fever, abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, and nausea.

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    Acute And Persistent Diarrhea

    The most common causes of acute and persistent diarrhea are infections, travelers diarrhea, and side effects of medicines.


    Three types of infections that cause diarrhea include

    Infections in the digestive tract that spread through foods or drinks are called foodborne illnesses.

    Infections lasting more than 2 weeks and less than 4 weeks can cause persistent diarrhea.

    Travelers diarrhea

    Travelers diarrhea is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Travelers diarrhea is most often acute. However, some parasites cause diarrhea that lasts longer. Travelers diarrhea can be a problem for people traveling to developing countries.

    Side effects of medicines

    Many medicines may cause diarrhea. Medicines that may cause diarrhea include antibiotics, antacids containing magnesium, and medicines used to treat cancer.

    When To Call A Doctor

    Most cases of acute diarrhea are self-resolving, and symptoms will improve within a few days.

    However, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, if symptoms persist for longer than 2 days , you should seek medical attention, as you may be getting dehydrated and need IV fluids or other treatment and evaluation.

    Diarrhea is also a symptom of some serious medical emergencies. If you experience loose, watery stools alongside any of the following symptoms, you should seek emergency help. A combination of these symptoms may be a sign of a severe underlying illness.

    • a fever

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    What Is Bloody Diarrhea

    Spotting blood in the toilet or on the toilet paper can be upsetting. And blood is always cause for concern. That said, a trace of blood in your stool can be caused by a relatively minor condition, such as mild constipation or hemorrhoids.

    But if youre noticing more than a trace, or if the blood is accompanied by other stomach issues, you may need to see a doctor. Possible culprits include a bacterial or parasite infection, inflammatory bowel diseases , and colorectal cancer.

    Can Diarrhea Be Prevented

    Chronic Diarrhea: What Does It Mean to Have This Condition?

    There are a few ways you can decrease your chances of having diarrhea, including:

    • Avoiding infections with good hygiene habits: Washing your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, as well as cooking, handling, and eating, is an important way to prevent diarrhea. Washing your hands thoroughly can really help keep you and those around you stay healthy.
    • Getting your vaccinations: Rotavirus, one of the causes of diarrhea, can be prevented with the rotavirus vaccine. This is given to infants in several stages during the first year of life.
    • Storing food properly: By keeping your food stored at the right temperatures, not eating things that have gone bad, cooking food to the recommended temperature and handling all foods safely, you can prevent diarrhea.
    • Watching what you drink when you travel: Travelers diarrhea can happen when you drink water or other drinks that havent been treated correctly. This is most likely to happen in developing countries. To avoid getting diarrhea there are a few tips to follow. Watch what you drink. Dont drink tap water, use ice cubes, brush your teeth with tap water, or consume unpasteurized milk, milk products or unpasteurized juices. You should also be careful when trying local foods from street vendors, eating raw or undercooked meats , as well as raw fruits and vegetables. When in doubt, drink bottled water or something thats been boiled first .

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    Can Diarrhoea Be Prevented

    Gastroenteritis the most common cause of diarrhoea is highly infectious, and mostly spread by contact with another person who has the illness, or from contaminated food.

    These measures can help to stop the spread:

    • wash hands frequently using a good handwashing technique
    • follow proper food-safety practices
    • if a household member has diarrhoea, they should not prepare food for the other members, and everyone should follow regular handwashing and hygiene practices
    • someone who has diarrhoea should not visit hospitals, aged care facilities, or swimming pools
    • babies can be vaccinated against rotavirus

    Why Does Diarrhea Occur

    Diarrhea is a consequence of several disturbances in the gut.

    • Faster than normal movement through the bowels may push the intestinal contents rapidly through the bowel before water can be reabsorbed in the colon. This gives rise to liquid stools.
    • Damage to the bowel wall and disruption of the water-electrolyte balance can cause water to remain in the bowels or even draw out water from the body thereby leading to liquid stools.

    Sometimes bowel movement may be more frequent than is considered normal. It may even surpass three bowel movements in a day but the stool is of a normal consistency. Despite the frequency, there appears to be no underlying abnormality in the bowel wall or in the composition of stool. This may be referred to as functional diarrhea which infers an abnormality in bowel physiology without there being any underlying disease.

    Read more on frequent bowel movements.

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    When Is Diarrhea Considered Chronic

    When it comes to chronic diarrhea, you may ask yourself, “How much is too much?” While diarrhea is common and can happen for a multitude of acute or benign reasons, diarrhea that lasts more than four weeks is generally considered chronic, per the AGA. The diarrhea itself can also range in its symptoms, including loose stool consistency, increased frequency, urgency of bowel movements, or incontinence.

    To identify whether you’re suffering from chronic diarrhea, your doctor will likely conduct a medical history and physical examination. These evaluations may bring to light common causes of persistent diarrhea, such as diet, medications, and surgery or radiation therapy. But if there doesn’t seem to be an obvious cause, your doctor can perform a range of tests as needed for your individual case. These can include blood and stool tests, an endoscopy, imaging studies, histology, and physiological testing.

    How Can Diarrhea Be Prevented

    An Approach to Chronic Diarrhea

    It’s almost impossible to prevent all cases diarrhea. But there are some ways to make it less likely:

    • Wash your hands well and often, especially after using the toilet and before eating. Hand washing is the best way to prevent diarrheal infections that pass from person to person.
    • Keep bathroom surfaces like sinks and toilets clean.
    • Wash fruits and vegetables well before eating.
    • Clean kitchen counters and cooking utensils well after they’ve been in contact with raw meat, especially poultry.
    • Refrigerate meats as soon as possible after bringing them home from the store. Cook them until they’re no longer pink. Refrigerate all leftovers as soon as possible.
    • Never drink from streams, springs, or lakes unless local health authorities have checked that the water is safe for drinking.
    • Avoid washing pet cages or bowls in the same sink that you use to prepare food. And try to keep pet feeding areas separate from family eating areas.

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    When To See Your Doctor

    Experiencing diarrhea from time to time isnt pleasant, but it isnt cause for concern, either. However, if your symptoms are serious enough that you have to stay home or take time off work, it may be time to see a doctor.

    If your diarrhea is the result of an underlying condition, the sooner youre able to get a diagnosis and start on treatment, the better. See your doctor if you have severe diarrhea accompanied by:

    • fever of 102°F or higher
    • vomiting
    • stools that contain blood or pus
    • symptoms of dehydration like confusion, dark urine, dizziness, extreme thirst
    • weight loss

    What Causes Diarrhea In Elderly

    To understand the cause of diarrhea, first, it is imperative to understand what it is and how it happens. Having more than three watery bowel movements in a day is often a sign. This faster than normal bowel movements can happen due to various reasons including being a symptom of certain diseases and conditions. More so, there may be poor re-absorption of fluids in the body, leading to excess fluid in the bowel, thus causing loose stool.


    The main cause of diarrhea is usually pathogens that attack the body such as bacteria, parasites, and viruses. These pathogens can enter the body through ingestion of contaminated food and water. Sometimes the contamination is airborne or through fomites

    Use of antibiotics may also increase certain microorganisms in the gut exponentially for instance some bacteria called clostridium difficile. This disturbance of the natural balance of bacteria in the bowels may lead to diarrhea. Most cases of diarrhea in elderly are due to weak immune systems which are prone to attacks.



    Bowel Diseases

    Diseases that affect the bowels such as IBS and IBD , diverticulitis have diarrhea as a common symptom. Diverticulitis is more likely to present with diarrhea in elderly people. Recent surgeries in the digestive region can also lead to diarrhea especially if digestion and absorption of nutrients are affected. Additionally, colorectal cancer is also a common cause of diarrhea in older people.

    Other Diseases

    Dangers of Elderly Diarrhea

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    When Symptoms Get Serious

    Most cases of diarrhea are nothing more than a brief inconvenience. But sometimes, they warn of a serious condition.

    Talk with your doctor if your child has diarrhea for more than 24 hours. If you have it for more than 3 days, make an appointment.

    • Severe abdominal or rectal pain
    • Blood in your stool

    Also, be sure to let your doctor know about your diarrhea if you have cancer, or have had recent treatment for it.

    What Can I Do To Manage My Symptoms

    What does it mean when you have chronic diarrhea ?
    • Drink more liquids to replace body fluids lost through diarrhea. You may also need to drink an oral rehydration solution . An ORS has the right amounts of sugar, salt, and minerals in water to replace body fluids. ORS can be found at most grocery stores or pharmacies. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Do not drink liquids with caffeine or alcohol. These can increase your risk for dehydration.
    • Do not drink or eat foods that may make your symptoms worse. These include milk and dairy products, greasy and fatty foods, spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol. Keep a food diary to see if your symptoms are caused by certain foods. Bring this to your follow-up visits.
    • Eat foods that are easy to digest. These include bananas, boiled potatoes, cooked carrots, cooked chicken, plain rice, and toast. You can also try yogurt and applesauce.
    • Wash your hands often. Germs on your hands can get into your mouth and cause diarrhea. Use soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, change a child’s diaper, or sneeze. Wash your hands before you prepare or eat food.

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