Frequent Bowel Movements

What Causes Frequent Stools?

Frequent stools can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'troubling' to 'critical'.  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 stools, 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 stools" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Vitamin D Need
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Food Allergies
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Gastritis

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:
occasional unexplained fevers
severe leg cramps caused by walking
frequent episodes of diarrhea
frequent meal-related bloating
regular runny nose
weak appetite
hyperthyroidism in family members
frequent painful urge to defecate
meal-related pain for under a week
chronic nausea
significant abdominal pain
tender rear neck muscles
... and more than 130 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 stools:
Cause Probability Status
Gastritis 97% Confirm
Diarrhea 30% Unlikely
Lactose Intolerance 20% Unlikely
Food Allergies 3% Ruled out
Irritable Bowel Syndrome 2% Ruled out
Hyperthyroidism 2% Ruled out
Ulcerative Colitis 1% Ruled out
Vitamin D Need 0% 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.

If you indicate irregular stools, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you have a tendency toward frequent bowel movements / stools?
Possible responses:
→ No / not applicable / don't know
→ Somewhat, have 2-3 stools per day
→ Yes, have 4-5 stools per day
→ Yes, have 6-7 stools per day
→ Yes, 8 or more stools per day
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either frequent stools or very frequent stools, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis may result in an increased urgency to defecate, up to 10 or 20 times per day.

... and also rule out issues such as:
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