Duration Of Current Diarrhea Symptoms

What Causes Chronic Diarrhea?

Chronic diarrhea can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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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):
  • Bacterial Dysbiosis
  • Intestinal Obstruction
  • Intestinal Malabsorption
  • Giardia
  • Short Bowel Syndrome
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Diverticular Disease
  • Food Poisoning

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:
moderate unexplained weight loss
chronic nausea
offensive-smelling stool
regular episodes of diarrhea
abdominal pain relieved by BM
significant abdominal pain
severe flatulence
pale stools
significant bowel movement changes
frequent rotten egg burps
nausea for 1-3 months
major left iliac pain after meals
... and more than 50 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:
Cause Probability Status
Giardia 99% Confirm
Food Poisoning 13% Unlikely
Intestinal Obstruction 12% Unlikely
Bacterial Dysbiosis 4% Ruled out
Intestinal Malabsorption 3% Ruled out
Short Bowel Syndrome 2% Ruled out
Irritable Bowel Syndrome 1% Ruled out
Diverticular Disease 1% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Bowel Movement Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about duration of current diarrhea symptoms:
If you suffer significantly from diarrhea (at least once per week), for how long has this been a problem?
Possible responses:
→ 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:
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

Most people with IBS have intermittent bouts of diarrhea.

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.

Vitamin B12 Requirement

Intermittent diarrhea can be a sign of B12 deficiency.

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