Frequency Of Diarrhea Episodes

What Causes Frequent Diarrhea?

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.

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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 frequent 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 "frequent diarrhea" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Gallbladder Surgery Side-Effects
  • Rapid Stool Passage
  • Short Bowel Syndrome
  • Malaria
  • Gallbladder Disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Magnesium Toxicity

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:
upper abdomen pain after night meal
occasional meal-related burping
frequent rotten egg burps
offensive-smelling stool
excessive osmotic laxative use
burning epigastric pain after meals
stomach cancer
frequent unexplained nausea
slightly oily/sticky stools
undigested fat in stools
meal-induced pain for over a month
using laxatives regularly
... and more than 90 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of frequent diarrhea:
Cause Probability Status
Stomach Cancer 91% Confirm
Rapid Stool Passage 26% Unlikely
Malaria 26% Unlikely
Short Bowel Syndrome 5% Ruled out
Irritable Bowel Syndrome 3% Ruled out
Gallbladder Disease 2% Ruled out
Gallbladder Surgery Side-Effects 2% Ruled out
Magnesium Toxicity 2% 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 frequency of diarrhea episodes:
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
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate not suffering from diarrhea, occasional episodes of diarrhea, regular episodes of diarrhea or frequent episodes of diarrhea, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

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.

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