At one or another point in our lives, we all have gone through diarrhea. In fact, it is not uncommon for bouts of diarrhea to visit quite a few times a year for most of us. Diarrhea refers to watery stools. Often diarrhea doesn’t last more than a few days in which case it is called acute diarrhea.
However, when diarrhea lasts for two to four weeks it becomes chronic diarrhea. Chronic diarrhea requires immediate medical attention because left untreated it can cause problems such as dehydration. Often there is another underlying medical cause behind chronic diarrhea.
Try and see if your diarrhea responds to at-home treatments such as dietary changes and some basic diarrhea-treating meds. If it doesn’t go away and the ailment stretches out for longer, it is time for you to see a doctor.
How To Know Your Diarrhea is Chronic?
The first sign of diarrhea being chronic is that it lasts for weeks rather than days. Other than this, there are also often other symptoms that people with chronic diarrhea experience. These include bloating, nausea, and abdominal cramps.
Common Causes Behind Chronic Diarrhea
To determine the cause behind your chronic diarrhea, your doctor would ask you questions such as:
- How many watery stools have you passed?
- What is the consistency of these stools?
- For how long have you had diarrhea?
- What other symptoms you are experiencing
- And if you have any digestive conditions in your family
Based on your answers, he will suggest tests and treatment. Following are some tests that might be conducted:
- A stool check to examine inflammation, fats or the presence of infection
If there is fat in your stool, this may hint at pancreatitis or celiac disease, Inflammation indicates Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- If you have pain as a symptom, your doctor may suggest an ultrasound or CT scan
- He may also suggest colonoscopy to diagnose issues in the intestines, pancreas or colon
Other than medical conditions, sometimes your diet, diabetes, alcohol abuse or gluten insensitivity are to blame for chronic diarrhea. Medications may also cause diarrhea. If tests reveal nothing, based on your symptoms, your doctor may diagnose irritable bowel syndrome.
Treatment Of Chronic Diarrhea
If you are struggling with chronic diarrhea, your doctor will talk about possible treatment routes based on the underlying medical condition. You will probably be recommended medications and some dietary changes.
Till your diarrhea subsides, drink a lot of clear fluids to prevent dehydration. Therefore, drink lots of water, broth and juices. Stick to low fiber and semi solid foods. Avoid beverages high in alcohol and caffeine. You can return to a normal healthy diet once your diarrhea issue is solved.
A BRAT diet is often recommended for diarrhea treatment. This diet stands for:
Excess diarrhea can leave you weak and depleted of essential nutrients and salts. Most times diarrhea is acute, but in case of chronic diarrhea you need to see your doctor. Often there is another underlying cause behind diarrhea. Your doctor will recommend a treatment course based on this.