What is Chronic Diarrhea?
You may think that diarrhea is just, well, diarrhea. But if you have diarrhea that lasts longer than 4 weeks, it’s known as chronic diarrhea.1
Chronic diarrhea is a common problem. Up to 18% of Americans have loose stools more than 25% of the time, or experience more than 3 diarrhea episodes per day.1
What causes chronic diarrhea?
There are many different factors that can cause chronic diarrhea. In the United States, chronic diarrhea is often associated with1:
While it is not clear exactly how these conditions cause chronic diarrhea and loose stools, there is evidence that changes in the lining of the intestine can be caused by2:
- Exposure to foreign substances (called external antigens), such as food ingredients like lactose
- Toxins (that may be released from both “good” and “bad” bacteria)
- Insults to the body (like infection)
When the environment inside your gut is functioning the way it should, it is called a stable environment. When substances (both foreign or natural) that may be toxic to the gut penetrate the lining of the intestine (also known as the gut barrier), it may upset this delicate balance, which can3,4:
- Contribute to chronic diarrhea and loose stools in people with many different intestinal conditions
- Prevent your body from properly absorbing nutrients from foods and fluid
How is the cause of chronic diarrhea diagnosed?
Diagnosing the underlying cause of chronic diarrhea can be challenging because diarrhea is a symptom that is associated with many different conditions.5
Your doctor will likely start by asking you questions about how long you have had diarrhea and how often you have episodes of diarrhea. You may also be asked about any recent travel to help determine if you may have picked up a parasite (or another infection-causing “bug”) somewhere. Then your doctor will probably do a physical exam and order blood testing. Stool testing may be ordered as well.5
The results of these tests will help your doctor determine if additional testing is needed to learn what could be causing your chronic diarrhea.5
Talking with your doctor
Talk to your doctor about getting help for chronic diarrhea and loose stools. Print out this free Doctor Discussion Guide to assist you, and learn how EnteraGam® may help manage chronic diarrhea and loose stools.
Once the cause of your chronic diarrhea and loose stools is correctly diagnosed, you can start to manage it, which may lead to fewer limitations in your life. EnteraGam® for chronic diarrhea will tell you more.
You may also be interested in how changes in the environment of your intestine can be a problem and what you can do about it.