Chronic Diarrhea: Causes and treatment Treatment
Chronic diarrhea is a condition that causes loose or watery stools for at least 3 to 4 weeks. It can be caused due to various reasons. Treatment focuses on resolving the cause of diarrhea, chronic loose stools, and dealing with any diarrhea complications. Chronic diarrhea can have a significant impact on your overall health and quality of life. Diarrhea that is acute or short-term, is usually not serious. However, if left untreated, chronic loose, watery stools can cause problems affecting your quality of life. As a result, it's critical to identify the cause of this type of diarrhea and treat any underlying condition.
Chronic diarrhea symptoms
Loose or watery stools that last for weeks are the most common symptom of chronic diarrhea. These stools may or may not be accompanied by a feeling of impending doom. You might experience the following symptoms:
- Loose motions
- Cramps in the abdomen
Chronic Diarrhea Causes
There can be many causes of chronic diarrhea such as - Irritable bowel syndrome — It is the most common cause of chronic diarrhea. It causes crampy abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or both).
Inflammatory bowel disease — There are several types of inflammatory bowel disease, with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis being the most common. When the body's immune system attacks parts of the digestive tract, these conditions can develop. The presence of blood in the stool can indicate the presence of inflammatory bowel disease.
Infections — Chronic diarrhea is caused by intestinal infections. Intestinal infections can also occur as a result of eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.
Endocrine disorders — Chronic diarrhea and weight loss can be caused by an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
A food allergy or sensitivity — Food allergies and hypersensitivity can also cause chronic diarrhea. Gluten, a major component of wheat flour, causes diarrhea and weight loss in people with celiac disease. When patients with lactose intolerance consume milk, they experience diarrhea and gas.
Medicines — Some medicines or dietary supplements can cause diarrhea as a side effect. Review your list of medicines with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if it causes diarrhea.
Chronic Diarrhea Treatment
Anti-diarrheal medications can alleviate diarrhea, but they are not recommended for long-term use. Also, they cannot be taken on your own without any doctor’s recommendation.
The treatment for chronic diarrhea is determined by the underlying cause. If you have ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, pancreatitis, or celiac disease, for example, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you and recommend the best course of action. Prescription medications such as an immunosuppressant or a corticosteroid may be used in treatment.
As your health improves, your diarrhea may improve.
Lifestyle and dietary changes
Keep track of all your meals and snacks, and keep track of any symptoms that worsen. You may be able to identify potential trigger foods after a few weeks. If this is the case, try eliminating these foods from your diet to see if your symptoms improve. For example, if you stop eating gluten, artificial sweeteners, or dairy products, your diarrhea may stop or significantly improve. Alternatively, your condition may improve if you eliminate certain vegetables, fruits, and beans from your diet.
Among the lifestyle changes that can aid in the treatment of chronic diarrhea are:
- Caffeine and alcoholic beverages should be avoided.
- Consuming low-fiber foods
- To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of clear fluids.
- Limiting food portions in order to avoid overeating
Chronic diarrhea caused by a medical condition isn't always avoidable. However, you can avoid chronic diarrhea caused by infection by taking precautions to keep your food and water supplies clean. For preventing follow these -
- Drink water from a clean source or filter it.
- Before cooking, thoroughly clean the utensils.
- Properly wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
- Meat should be thoroughly cooked.
- After handling food, wash your hands.
- To avoid contamination, keep kitchen surfaces clean.
- After using the restroom, changing a diaper, or attending to a sick person, wash your hands.
Maintaining hygiene will save you from all kinds of infections and diseases. Keep clean, eat good food, drink more water, perform some exercises and stay healthy.