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Chronic diarrhea: causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

We all know about diarrhea. This condition makes stools more frequent, and chairs change their appearance, texture, and even color. However, it is considered chronic when it happens three or more times a day and lasts longer than four weeks (one month). The symptoms remain the same as in common diarrhea, with the addition that they can become more severe due to the loss of nutrients that we are suffering. In addition, more fluid is lost than is ingested and, therefore, can lead to dehydration.

To avoid further damage, it must be treated immediately. Common diarrhea can become chronic due to several causes; the only difference between one and the other is its duration. This FastlyHealarticle will talk about chronic diarrhea: causes and treatment.

Causes of chronic diarrhea

The causes of chronic diarrhea are very similar to those of acute diarrhea since the only thing that changes between one, and the other is simply the duration. Acute diarrhea, which different causes can cause, becomes chronic when it lasts longer than it should. However, diarrhea due to poisoning, which can last from a few minutes to hours, is not the same as diarrhea due to infection, which lasts for weeks. There is also a difference between acute and chronic diarrhea.

Possible causes of chronic diarrhea are as follows:


As well as the difficulty in digesting some foods, such as lactose intolerance. It can also occur in celiac people who are allergic to gluten. Any food that causes allergy or intolerance in a person usually has diarrhea as a symptom since it affects the digestive system to a greater extent. In addition, the difficulty in digesting certain foods such as fats, alcohol, or caffeine can also cause chronic diarrhea. It will not disappear until the food in question is eliminated from the diet.

Intestinal malabsorption syndrome

The small intestine is in charge of most of the digestion. When suffering from malabsorption syndrome, the intestine cannot absorb all the nutrients indigestion, and this causes diarrhea to occur.

Diseases of the stomach or intestines

Like inflammatory bowel disease or some autoimmune disease like celiac disease , as we have seen. Inflammatory bowel disease is a group of diseases that affects the digestive tract. It produces inflammation in some of its areas (from the mouth to the anus) on a chronic basis. Since it includes several diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, it can cause diarrhea depending on which it is.

Thyroid and pancreas disorders or cancer

One of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism is diarrhea. If left untreated, diarrhea could accompany you for many weeks and become chronic. Until the root disease is treated, diarrhea could become established. Pancreatic cancer has diarrhea as one of its symptoms.

Infections caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites

There are many bacteria, viruses, or parasites that can cause diarrhea. This is a prevalent cause in children, wildly viral, as is the case with viral gastroenteritis . They are ubiquitous in summer since the climate favors the spread of these bacteria.

Some medications

Such as laxatives or antibiotics, heart medications, or certain minerals. Some minerals like magnesium, which have many medications, can cause diarrhea. The same goes for laxatives if you take more than you should or some heart drugs or antibiotics. They can affect the intestine and cause diarrhea that, if left untreated, could become chronic. The digestive tract could also be affected by taking many joint medications, so doctors often recommend taking Omeprazole.

Stomach or intestinal surgery

Depending on the surgery involved, it can cause diarrhea due to damage to the muscles that control bowel movements. This makes it more difficult to control bowel movements, and diarrhea may even occur due to surgery.

Frequent diarrhea: symptoms

The main symptom of chronic diarrhea is frequent and long-lasting bowel movements. However, other symptoms may also appear, such as:

  • The stools will be soft and regular (at least three times a day). For diarrhea to be chronic, its duration will be four weeks or more.
  • In most cases, they cannot be controlled.
  • Abdominal tenderness and pain in the area.
  • Weight loss due to loss of nutrients and eating little or nothing.
  • Dehydration could occur if you don’t drink enough fluids.
  • Irritation or inflammation of the anal area due to frequent bowel movements.
  • Diarrhea can upset the stomach causing nausea or even vomiting.
  • In some cases, fever may appear.
  • Extreme tiredness and weakness are due to the loss of nutrients and energy that the body needs. Since it is consuming more energy than it is finally ingesting.
  • Dry mouth or tongue.
  • Concentrated urination.

Chronic diarrhea: treatment

It is not possible to speak of a single treatment since this will depend on the cause that has produced chronic diarrhea. If it is an underlying disease or intolerance, the root problem should be treated. However, to treat the symptoms of diarrhea and avoid dehydration, your doctor will most likely prescribe medications. Depending on the cause, it could be drugs that relieve diarrhea or treat an infection. In addition, if the intestine is inflamed, the doctor will likely prescribe medications to reduce inflammation.

It is also essential to drink fluids so that dehydration does not occur. On many occasions with diarrhea, even juices feel bad for us; they should be put aside and opt for an isotonic drink to rehydrate to a greater extent or some physiological serum that contains the necessary minerals. Oral rehydration solutions (ORS) with the appropriate amount of sugar, salt, and minerals are highly recommended and indicated. However, it is always advisable to go to the doctor to choose a suitable treatment, and in his case, he shows the liquids you should drink.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Chronic diarrhea: causes and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Digestive System category .

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