What are the Causes of Chronic Diarrhea?

What are the Causes of Chronic Diarrhea?


We know by now that we need to eat the right foods, need to work out, and do stuff that is healthy for us. Because maintaining good health does not happen by accident, it requires work and smart lifestyle choices. But sometimes when we wake up at 6 am to hit the gym before work or shunning the donuts in breakfast, it’s easy to lose sight of for what are we doing all these. So here are some top articles choices that can keep you motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle and keep diseases at bay.

What are the Causes of Chronic Diarrhea?

Diarrhea lasting more then 4 weeks can be termed as chronic diarrhea. Chronic diarrhea may be indication of some potentially serious underlying pathology and need thorough investigation. Most commonly chronic diarrhea is due to non infectious cause, unlike acute diarrhea, which are commonly due to infectious cause.

The causes of chronic diarrhea can be grouped in seven groups and they are (1) secretory causes, (2) inflammatory causes, (3) osmotic causes, (4) dysmitility causes, (5) due to steatorea, (6) factitial causes and (7) iatrogenic causes or caused due to hospital/medical intervention.

(1) Secretory causes:

The causes of secretory diarrhea are stimulation due to stimulant laxatives, chronic alcoholism, presence of internal laxatives such as dihydroxy bile acids, use of certain drugs, presence of certain toxins, some bacterial GIT infection, problem in the bowel (bowel resection, fistula in bowel, disease, impaction of fecal mass in the bowel, partial obstruction of bowel etc.), Addison’s disease, electrolyte absorption defects due to congenital abnormality, tumors that produce hormones (such as cancer of thyroid, VIPoma, carcinoid tumors, gastrinoma, colorectal adenoma etc.) and idiopathic secretory diarrhea.

(2) Inflammatory causes:

The causes of diarrhea due to inflammatory process are inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease, chronic ulcerative colitis), colitis, infections (such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites), cancer in any part of GIT, radiation, immune related disease (such as food allergy, eosinophilic gastroenteritis, graft-vs-host disease) etc.

(3) Osmotic causes:

The causes of diarrhea due to osmotic causes are use of osmotic laxatives, excess nonabsorbable carbohydrates (such as sorbitol, lactulose etc.), deficiencies of disaccharidases such as lactase.

(4) Dysmitility causes:

The causes of diarrhea due to dysmitility are IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome), use of prokinetic drugs for prolonged time such as metoclopramide, hyperthyroidism etc.

(5) Steatorea causes:

The causes of diarrhea due to steatorea are mal-absorption syndromes (due to celiac sprue, Whipple’s disease, infections, abetalipoproteinemia, ischemia of intestine etc.), mal-digestion (due to pancreatic exocrine insufficiency, bariatric surgery, bacterial overgrowth/infection, liver disease etc.), lymphatic obstruction etc.

(6) Factitial causes:

Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa.

(7) Iatrogenic causes:

The iatrogenic causes of chronic diarrhea are removal of gall bladder (Cholecystectomy), bariatric surgeries, surgical removal of ileum, vagotomy etc.

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