What Symptoms Relate To Diarrhoea
As well as the loose and watery stools of diarrhoea, you may sometimes have other symptoms, including:
You may feel an urgent need to go to the toilet.
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Chronic diarrhea may be an unpleasant experience and topic of discussion, but the condition is fairly common. It affects 5 percent of the U.S. population at any given time, according to the American Gastroenterological Association . Diarrhea isn’t always symptomatic of a serious condition, but diarrhea that lasts too long can be more harmful and may lead your doctor to diagnose other health problems.
Signs And Symptoms Of Bowel Cancer
The three main symptoms of bowel cancer are blood in the stools , a change in bowel habit, such as more frequent, looser stools, and abdominal pain.
However, these symptoms are very common. Blood in the stools is usually caused by haemorrhoids , and a change in bowel habit or abdominal pain is often the result of something you have eaten.
In the UK, an estimated 7 million people have blood in the stools each year. Even more people have temporary changes in their bowel habits and abdominal pain. Most people with these symptoms do not have bowel cancer.
As the vast majority of people with bowel cancer are over the age of 60, these symptoms are more important as people get older. These symptoms are also more significant when they persist in spite of simple treatments.
Most patients with bowel cancer present with one of the following symptom combinations:
- a persistent change in bowel habit, causing them to go to the toilet more often and pass looser stools, usually together with blood on or in their stools
- a persistent change in bowel habit without blood in their stools, but with abdominal pain
- blood in the stools without other haemorrhoid symptoms, such as soreness, discomfort, pain, itching, or a lump hanging down outside the back passage
- abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always provoked by eating, sometimes resulting in a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss
The symptoms of bowel cancer can be subtle and don’t necessarily make you feel ill.
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Symptoms Suggesting Celiac Disease:
- The usual age of onset is between 20-30 years of age. But it can occur in older ages up to 70 years.
- Abdominal pain and bloating.
- Easy fatigue and iron deficiency anemia.
- Itchy, blistery skin.
- Osteoporosis and osteomalacia .
Celiac disease is diagnosed by a blood test or by taking a biopsy from the small intestine.
Call your doctor if you suspect celiac disease. Learn more.
Symptoms Suggest Bile Acid Diarrhea
- Constant diarrhea .
- Extreme urgency: a sudden severe urge to poop.
- The extreme urgency may lead to soiling accidents in some people.
- Unlike IBS, diarrhea can occur at night .
- Abdominal pain and stomach gurgling after meals.
- Bloating and flatulence.
Bile acid is overlooked by many doctors. This is due to the relative unavailability of its specific test and the similarity of symptoms with IBS.
The treatment of bile acid diarrhea is a bile acid binder called cholestyramine . We discussed the issue of BAD and its relation to IBS-D in-depth HERE.
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How Is Diarrhoea Diagnosed
Diarrhoea can be diagnosed based on your symptoms and a medical history, taken by your doctor. If the diarrhoea goes away after a few days you may not find the cause.
Sometimes, tests will be needed to diagnose an underlying condition. These include:
If you have ongoing diarrhoea, your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist or other specialist to work out the underlying cause.
What Causes Chronic Diarrhea
- Infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites
- Trouble digesting food, such as lactose, gluten, or sorbitol
- Irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohns disease
- A lack of enzymes that help digest foods or an overgrowth of bacteria in your small intestines
- Chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, or a tumor in your digestive system
- A thyroid disorder, such as hyperthyroidism
- An immune system disorder, such as AIDS
- Medicines such as laxatives, NSAIDs, antibiotics, metformin, or digoxin
- Surgery or procedures on your stomach, liver, or bowels
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When Should You Seek Medical Care
Diarrhea can usually be treated with home care. In some cases, it may become more severe. A person should go to a hospital emergency department in the following situations:
- If the person has the condition along with high fever, moderate-to-severe abdominal pain, or dehydration that cannot be managed by drinking fluids
- If the diarrhea appears to contain blood
- If the person is sleepy and is not acting like their usual selves
- Vomiting and inability to tolerate any food or to keep liquids down
- Signs of dehydration
- High fever, significant abdominal pain, frequent loose bowel movements, or bloody diarrhea
- If he or she is elderly or has serious underlying medical problems, particularly diabetes, heart, kidney, or liver disease, or HIV/AIDS
- A parent or caregiver needs advice about preventing dehydration in newborns and infants
- Symptoms do not improve in two to three days or appear to become worse
- If he or she develops diarrhea after travel within their home country, or foreign travel or if a woman is pregnant
For cases of chronic diarrhea, your primary care provider may consult with a gastroenterologist .
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When To Seek Medical Advice
If you think you or your child may have a food allergy, it’s very important to ask for a professional diagnosis from your GP. They can then refer you to an allergy clinic if appropriate.
Many parents mistakenly assume their child has a food allergy when their symptoms are actually caused by a completely different condition.
Commercial allergy testing kits are available, but using them isn’t recommended. Many kits are based on unsound scientific principles. Even if they’re reliable, you should have the results looked at by a health professional.
Read more about diagnosing food allergies
What Complications Are Associated With Diarrhoea
Diarrhoea may cause dehydration. More fluids are lost from the body when you have diarrhoea than normally. Dehydration can lead to a loss of electrolytes minerals your body needs to function properly. This is why rehydration is so important.
Diarrhoea causes food to move quickly through your body. If this is ongoing it makes it difficult for you to absorb nutrients and can lead to malnutrition.
Some people may develop temporary lactose intolerance after an episode of diarrhoea or gastroenteritis. See your doctor if the symptoms continue for more than a couple of weeks.
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How Is It Treated
The type of treatment needed depends on the cause of the diarrhea. It is important to drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration. Antibiotics or laxatives can contribute to diarrhea, so it may help to stop taking them. Fasting may help some types of diarrhea, but not all.
Most conditions that cause diarrhea can be treated. Diarrhea caused by certain medicines and foods will usually go away without treatment.
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- vomit blood or have vomit that looks like ground coffee
- have green or yellow-green vomit
- might have swallowed something poisonous
- have a stiff neck and pain when looking at bright lights
- have a sudden, severe headache or stomach ache
- Severe pain:
- always there and so bad it’s hard to think or talk
- you cannot sleep
- it’s very hard to move, get out of bed, go to the bathroom, wash or dress
- Moderate pain:
- makes it hard to concentrate or sleep
- you can manage to get up, wash or dress
- Mild pain:
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Can You Take Over
If you have a bout of acute diarrhea, you might reach for Pepto Bismol or Imodiumboth can make short-term diarrhea more bearable. But these OTC medications shouldn’t be your go-to for a lengthy period of time when dealing with chronic diarrhea, and if you have to take it for more than two to three weeks, it’s time to consult your doctor. Note that, according to Dr. Lee, Pepto Bismol shouldn’t be taken by those who are pregnant or allergic to aspirin.
These OTC medications also won’t cure your chronic diarrheathey’ll just mask the issue. That’s especially true for Imodium , which merely slows diarrhea down. While it’s great for bouts of acute diarrhea, it’s potentially dangerous for chronic diarrhea, since it can back up your colon. “That may actually worsen whatever the problem is,” says Dr. Lee.
Overall, if your diarrhea is chronic, the best way to treat it is to first figure out the root cause and treat that, rather than just treating the symptoms.
What Causes Chronic Or Constant Diarrhea
In summary, the causes of chronic or constant diarrhea include the following:
The causes were arranged in the order of commonality (the common, the infrequent, and the rare causes of chronic or constant diarrhea.
|Frequency||Causes of chronic or constant diarrhea|
|1- Common||3. Colonic Tumors 4. Inflammatory bowel diseases7. Recurrent Clostridioides difficile diarrhea8. Overflow diarrhea|
|1. Small bowel bacterial overgrowth2. Mesenteric ischemia4. Surgical causes 5. Chronic pancreatitis10. Giardiasis 11. Cystic fibrosis|
|1. Rare small intestinal diseases 2. Hypoparathyroidism4. Hormone secreting tumors 5. Autonomic neuropathy7. Brainerd diarrhea|
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Home Remedies And Natural Remedies
Chronic diarrhea may develop after taking a prescription medication such as an antibiotic. Talk to your doctor about alternative drugs. If one isnt available, incorporate probiotics into your diet to restore stool bulk. These are available in yogurt and capsule form.
Fiber supplements are associated with relieving constipation. But certain fiber supplements can also relieve chronic diarrhea because of its water-holding effect. Taking psyllium on a daily basis can produce bulkier stools and lessen or eliminate diarrhea caused by IBS or medication.
Chronic diarrhea caused by an underlying medical condition isnt always preventable. But you can prevent chronic diarrhea due to infection by taking steps to keep your food and water supply clean. For example:
- Drink from a clean water source or filter your water.
- Thoroughly clean meat before cooking.
- Cook meat thoroughly.
- Wash your hands after handling food.
- Clean kitchen surfaces to prevent contamination.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before consuming them.
- Wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or attending to a sick person.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
If you have long-term diarrhea, don’t put off seeing your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider may order blood tests or a stool sample to check for blood in the stool or an infection due to bacteria, a virus, or a parasite.
You may need a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy, which may identify IBD or early signs of colon cancer. Even if it turns out that you have colon cancer, it is usually curable, particularly if detected early.
Signs that you should see your healthcare provider include:
- Your diarrhea has lasted for more than two weeks .
- You have persistent abdominal cramps or severe pain.
- You’re vomiting a lot.
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.
Chronic Diarrhea For A Month : 7 Causes Gastroenterologist Explains
Our content is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice by your doctor. Use for informational purposes only.
Chronic diarrhea for a month can be due to infectious or non-infectious causes. The most common causes are food intolerances, irritable bowel syndrome, medications, and chronic infections.
- Medications such as metformin, antibiotics, and laxative abuse.
- Chronic infections such as clostridium difficile, chronic giardiasis, and others.
- Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis.
- Other causes such as endocrinal diseases, intestinal malignancy, radiotherapy, etc.
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How Is It Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you about your allergies, diet, medicines you are taking, family history, surgical history, and travel before doing an examination. He or she may also do other tests, such as blood tests, stool tests, cultures, and anoscopy. If these tests do not tell your doctor the cause of your diarrhea, you may need a sigmoidscopy, colonoscopy, or colon biopsy.
There are no specific tests to diagnose IBS. Describing your symptoms can help with diagnosis, and blood tests are usually done to make sure nothing else is causing the diarrhea. To diagnose IBD, you will probably need blood tests and a colonoscopy. Other tests may be needed to diagnose microscopic colitis, malabsorption, and chronic infections.
How Can I Prevent Diarrhea
Although diarrhea can occur for various reasons, there are actions that you can take to prevent it:
- You can avoid developing diarrhea from food poisoning by washing the cooking and food preparation areas more frequently.
- Serve food immediately after preparing it.
- Refrigerate leftovers promptly.
- Always thaw frozen food in a refrigerator.
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Which Foods Make Diarrhea Go Away Faster
Certain foods, particularly the bland ones, may help get rid of diarrhea faster. They also make up for the nutrient loss during diarrhea, aiding faster recovery. These foods are as follows:
- White rice
- Foods containing probiotics such as yogurt, curd, kefir, and drinks containing fermented milk
- Boiled or baked potatoes
- Baked chicken or turkey
- Liquids containing salt and sugar such as over the counter oral rehydration solution
- White rice porridge
- Unseasoned crackers
- White bread
Along with consuming the aforementioned foods, one must avoid foods that may make diarrhea worse. These include the following:
- Spicy foods
- Fried or fatty food such as chips, pastries, and bacon
- Caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee
- Raw vegetables such as cabbage
- Raw fruits and juices
How Is Diarrhea Treated
- Use alcohol based sanitizers
- Eat foods that have been cleaned and cooked in a safe way
- Not take any foods or liquids that may have been infected with a bacteria or virus
When you are traveling, make sure anything you eat and drink is safe. This is even more important if you travel to developing countries.
Travel safety tips for water and other liquids include:
- Not drinking tap water or using it to brush your teeth
- Not using ice made from tap water
- Not drinking milk or milk items that have not gone through a process to kill certain bacteria
Travel safety tips for food include:
- Not eating any fresh or raw fruits and vegetables unless you wash and peel them yourself
- Making sure all meat and fish have been cooked to at least medium doneness
- Not eating raw or rare-cooked meat or fish
- Making sure meat and shellfish such as shrimp, crab, and scallops, are hot when served
- Not eating food from street vendors or food trucks
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This Factsheet Is About Diarrhoea
Most healthy people open their bowels between three times a day and three times a week. Normal stools are usually solid because the small intestine and colon are highly efficient in absorbing nutrients, fluid and salts from the gut contents.
Diarrhoea occurs when these processes are impaired, for example when bacteria or viruses damage the lining of the gut and/or there is excessive secretion of fluid such as water, into the bowel that overwhelms the ability of the gut to reabsorb this fluid and salts. The stools become loose and watery and more frequent bowel movements occur. Diarrhoea is also a symptom of some diseases of the digestive tract. In acute diarrhoea, symptoms come on suddenly but usually clear up within five to 10 days. Chronic diarrhoea continues longer than 4 weeks, and the cause should always be investigated by a GP.