Frequent 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.
Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms. In order to diagnose frequent diarrhea, we could:
|Vitamin B12 Need||28%||Unlikely|
|Crohn's Disease||4%||Ruled out|
|Epstein-Barr Virus||2%||Ruled out|
|Stomach Cancer||1%||Ruled out|
|Ulcerative Colitis||1%||Ruled out|
|Food Poisoning||0%||Ruled out|
Approximately how often do you suffer from diarrhea?
Possible responses:→ Very rarely / it is not a problem / don't know
→ Occasionally - a few times a year
→ Regularly - once a month or more
→ Often - once a week or more
→ Frequently / several times a day
IBS is a condition affecting the colon, which normally absorbs water from stool. IBS can cause rapid stool transit, less water absorption, and therefore loose and watery stool with frequent bouts of diarrhea.
IBS often reduces the amount of time that stool remains in the intestines, and therefore also the amount of water that is absorbed. This results in very loose and watery stool, and frequent episodes of diarrhea. Not having diarrhea as a symptom therefore strongly suggests that IBS may not be the problem.
It should be noted, however, that some suffers (especially those with IBS-C – Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation) will suffer from the opposite problem: stool remains for a longer time in the intestines, more water is absorbed, stool becomes hard and dry, and constipation results. Many patients suffer from both diarrhea and constipation.