The Most Common Causes of Chronic Diarrhea

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Chronic diarrhoea can be painful, often interrupting a person's life to the point where she is always going to the bathroom. Chronic diarrhoea can cause a person to lose weight and lose out on a fulfilling life, quite often discovering it is easier to stay near a bathroom than venture out of the house. Chronic diarrhoea is defined as diarrhoea that lasts for longer than just a couple of days and may last longer than four weeks. Chronic diarrhoea is when the body loses weight, along with necessary water and salts, leading to dehydration. Sometimes chronic diarrhoea will clear up on its own, but when it is accompanied by bloody stools and dehydration, it is wise to call a health care professional for assistance.


There are many causes for chronic diarrhoea such as Crohn's disease,coeliac disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel syndrome, having bacteria in the digestive system and having lactose intolerance. For children consuming too much sweet stuff such as fructose, this can cause chronic diarrhoea. Another cause of chronic diarrhoea can also be having abdominal surgery with the removal of the gall bladder.

Warnings for Children

Children who experience chronic diarrhoea are at risk of becoming dehydrated or becoming nutritionally deficient in many important vitamins and nutrients. A child who is experiencing chronic diarrhoea should be watched for crying without tears, having a dry mouth or having a sunken appearance and should be seen by a health care professional. When the child appears to be very sleepy or drowsy and if her skin when pinched doesn't flatten or bounce back from the pinch, she may be dehydrated.

Coeliac Dsease

Coeliac disease often causes chronic diarrhoea. It is triggered by the consumption of the protein gluten that is found in many foods such as bread, pasta, pizza and cookies. Basically, the immune system has an adverse reaction in the small intestine when it comes in contact with the protein in gluten. This causes the small intestine to experience damage to the surface of the intestine, thus preventing it from absorbing necessary nutrients. This then causes diarrhoea from the malabsorbed foods. People who have coeliac disease can be very thin and need to avoid gluten to receive the healthful ingredients in their food.

Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease is when a person may experience weight loss due to chronic diarrhoea, fever, rectal bleeding and abdominal pain. The small or the large intestine may be inflamed. Crohn's disease can be very painful and can also be confused with other chronic diarrhoea diseases such as IBS and colitis. There is currently no known medicine or known cure for Crohn's disease. It affects nearly half a million people in the United States every year.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes chronic diarrhoea that can alternate with symptoms of diarrhoea and constipation. A person who experiences IBS has the feeling of a sudden urgent need to go to the bathroom. Many times IBS sufferers feel they have to stay home most of the time, or they look for a bathroom when out of the house. With IBS, there are no abnormalities seen by a health care professional in the colon. IBS is often accompanied by mucus in the stool and loose, watery stools. There is also bloating of the abdomen.

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis can be very painful for the person suffering from this lifelong, chronic diarrhoea condition. The colitis sufferer may experience bloody stools and pain in the abdomen before going to the bathroom. The colitis sufferer may also experience an urgent need to go to the bathroom, often waking at night to go. He may have a bloated abdomen and lose weight with this condition due to the chronic diarrhoea and possible dehydration. Ulcerative colitis involves the inflammation of the inner lining of the colon and rectum. Flareups will occur over the course of a lifetime for a colitis sufferer. Colitis affects people of all ages, and there is no known cure. Certain drug treatments can help.


People suffering from chronic diarrhoea who feel very tired and weak and have general aching muscles need to see a health care professional due to possible dehydration. People who experience bloody stools with abdomen pain will also want to see a doctor. Scope tests will be done to find the source of the problem and the medical condition. Children in particular will need to see a doctor when experiencing chronic diarrhoea due to their bodies becoming dehydrated at a fast rate and not being able to absorb the proper nutrients.

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