Diarrhea is a digestive condition that causes loose or watery stools. Many people experience diarrhea at some time. These spells are usually acute and resolve in a number of days without any complications. Other people, however, deal with diarrhea that persists for more than two to 4 weeks. This is called chronic diarrhea.
Acute, or short-term, diarrhea typically isn’t major. Yet chronic loose, watery stools can bring about problems if left untreated. So it is essential to recognize the cause of this sort of diarrhea and deal with any hidden problem.
Symptoms of Chronic Diarrhea
The major symptom of chronic diarrhea is loose or watery stools that linger for weeks. These stools may or might not be accompanied by a feeling of necessity. You might have other symptoms as well, such as:
- abdominal cramps
Causes of Chronic Diarrhea
Chronic diarrhea is often brought on by a hidden medical problem. See your doctor if diarrhea doesn’t react to at-home treatment.
During your consultation, your doctor may carry out a checkup and ask about your symptoms. For instance, how commonly do you have loosened stools? Do you have any other symptoms? Exists an individual or family history of digestion issues? Based upon your physical exam and your symptoms, your doctor may buy a complete blood count or a stool sample to check for infections or inflammation.
Inflammatory conditions that can create loose, watery stools consist of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s condition. These problems can also trigger bloody stools and abdominal pain.
A stool sample, which analyzes feces, may disclose raised leukocyte. This can be an indication of inflammation in your body or bacteria or parasites in your stool. The latter can additionally create loose stools. This example may also reveal fat in your stool, which can show chronic pancreatitis (damage to the pancreas from long term inflammation) or gastric disease.
Your diet can additionally play a role in chronic diarrhea. Specific components quicken the price of food digestion, creating food to pass rapidly via the colon. Typical perpetrators include milk and artificial sweeteners (sorbitol and fructose).
Other reasons for chronic diarrhea might consist of:
- medications — NSAIDs, antibiotics, antacids
- gluten insensitivity
- alcohol abuse
If a blood test or a stool example can’t identify the source of diarrhea, your doctor may recommend an ultrasound or CT scan of your abdominal area, yet just if you have other symptoms like discomfort or bloody stools. These imaging tests will examine your body organs for problems. Your doctor may likewise suggest a colonoscopy to analyze your bowels for problems. This tool can diagnose problems with the lining of your intestinal tracts, pancreas, and colon.
Sometimes, the cause of chronic diarrhea is unknown. If analysis tests do not reveal an abnormality, your doctor might attribute chronic diarrhea to irritable digestive tract syndrome (IBS).
This problem affects the large intestinal tracts and causes a variety of symptoms like diarrhea, irregularity, bloating, nausea, and abdominal pain. IBS can be chronic, however it doesn’t damage the big intestinal tracts.
Treatment Options for Chronic Diarrhea
Anti-diarrheal medications can alleviate diarrhea, however these medications aren’t recommended as a lasting treatment.
Treatment for chronic diarrhea depends upon the underlying cause. As an example, if you’re diagnosed with a medical problem like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, pancreatitis, or celiac disease, your doctor will talk about treatment alternatives with you and suggest the very best strategy. Treatment could consist of prescription medications like an immunosuppressant or a corticosteroid.
Diarrhea might improve as your health boosts.
Additional treatment alternatives for chronic diarrhea consist of:
Lifestyle and Diet
Keep a food journal to help determine whether diet is an underlying factor in chronic diarrhea. Record all your meals and snacks, and make a note of any worsening of symptoms.
After a few weeks, you may be able to identify possible trigger foods. If so, get rid of these foods from your diet to see if your symptoms boost. As an example, diarrhea may quit or considerably improve after quiting your intake of gluten, sweetening agents, or dairy products. Or your problem might boost after removing certain vegetables, fruits, and beans from your diet.
Way of living adjustments to assist settle chronic diarrhea include:
- preventing caffeine and alcoholic beverages
- consuming low fiber foods
- drinking clear liquids to avoid dehydration
- managing food portions to prevent overeating
If bacteria or a parasite causes chronic diarrhea, your doctor may suggest an antibiotic. Prescription medications containing codeine might also offer relief since they raise the moment it takes stools to go through the digestive tract, leading to bulkier stools. However, there’s the threat of dependency with these medications, so your doctor may not suggest codeine as a lasting treatment.
Over-the-counter medications such as bismuth (Pepto-Bismol) and loperamide (Imodium) additionally reduce the transportation of stool, but they must just be taken on a temporary basis. Speak with your doctor before using these medications to deal with chronic diarrhea.
House Remedies and Natural Remedies
Chronic diarrhea may create after taking a prescription medication such as an antibiotic. Speak with your doctor about different drugs. If one isn’t readily available, include probiotics right into your diet to recover stool bulk. These are available in yogurt and capsule form.
Fiber supplements are associated with soothing irregular bowel movements. Yet certain fiber supplements can also relieve chronic diarrhea due to its water-holding effect. Taking psyllium (Metamucil) daily can create bulkier stools and minimize or eliminate diarrhea triggered by IBS or medication.
Preventing Chronic Diarrhea
Chronic diarrhea brought on by a hidden medical problem isn’t constantly avoidable. Yet you can prevent chronic diarrhea due to infection by taking actions to keep your food and supply of water tidy. For instance:
- Drink from a tidy water source or filter your water.
- Thoroughly clean meat before food preparation.
- Cook meat thoroughly.
- Wash your hands after handling food.
- Tidy cooking area surface areas to prevent contamination.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before consuming them.
- Wash your hands after using the bathroom, altering a diaper, or attending to a sick person.
Complications of Chronic Diarrhea
Intense diarrhea can be harmless. But with chronic diarrhea, there’s the danger of dehydration as a result of loss of fluid. Dehydration is when your body doesn’t have adequate water. This can be life-threatening, so drink plenty of liquids. This includes water, broth, and bitter and decaffeinated tea. Signs of dehydration include:
- dark urine
- excessive thirst
See a doctor if you reveal indicators of dehydration.
Outlook for Chronic Diarrhea
The outlook for chronic diarrhea relies on the reason. If you’re able to treat an inflammatory digestive tract disorder, infection, or other digestive system issue, your stools should gradually go back to normal. If you do not have a medical problem, keeping a food journal, watching your diet, and making way of life changes may likewise offer relief. The essential thing is that you do not ignore the trouble. The sooner you speak with your doctor, the sooner you can get relief.