What Causes Chronic Diarrhea?
Chronic diarrhea can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'very serious'. Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.
Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms. In order to diagnose chronic diarrhea, we could:
- Research the topic
- Find a doctor with the time
- Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.
Step 1: List all Possible Causes
We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "chronic diarrhea" as a symptom. Here are eight of many possibilities (more below
- Lactose Intolerance
- Epstein-Barr Virus
- Short Bowel Syndrome
- West Nile Virus
- Rapid Stool Passage
Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist
We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
very frequent stools
edema of the ankles/lower legs
cysts in breasts
frequent meal-related bloating
edema of the hands
dizziness when standing up
Latin / Hispanic ethnicity
elevated free T4
... and more than 120 others
Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause
A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of chronic diarrhea:
|Short Bowel Syndrome
|West Nile Virus
|Rapid Stool Passage
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process
Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis
is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.
If you suffer significantly from diarrhea (at least once per week), for how long has this been a problem?
→ It is not a problem / don't know
→ It started within the last week
→ It started within the last month
→ I've had it for 1 to 3 months
→ I've had it for over 3 months
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate no significant diarrhea, recent onset diarrhea, diarrhea for 1-3 months or chronic diarrhea, The Analyst™
will consider possibilities such as:
Rapid Intestinal Transit
|Rapid passage (or transit) of stool is one of the most common causes of diarrhea. Stool that leaves the large intestine too quickly is watery: there is not enough time for fluid and nutrients to be absorbed from the contents of the gastrointestinal tract.|
Rapid Intestinal Transit also suggests the following possibilities:
|Stress and anxiety are common causes of rapid food transit through the intestines.|