Diarrhea is a condition in which a person defecate loose and watery stool a number of times within a twenty-four hour period. People who are suffering from diarrhea may lose up to a gallon of watery stool per day. This means that if diarrhea is not treated immediately, a person may be at risk of dehydration. There are two types of diarrhea according to their duration period. Acute diarrhea occurs immediately and lasts as much as 5 days. On the other hand, chronic diarrhea is defined as diarrhea that last three weeks or more.
Acute diarrhea may develop due to gastrointestinal infections or through food allergies. Most cases of acute diarrhea are mild and need no doctor’s consultation. Symptoms of acute diarrhea may be eliminated by merely changing in a person’s diet.
Chronic diarrhea on the other hand may be caused by underlying medical conditions which cause the gastrointestinal tract to be irritated for a long period of time. There are a lot of conditions that may cause chronic diarrhea which includes these three major causes:
Food allergies or food intolerance. Probably the most common cause of chronic diarrhea is the inability of the gastrointestinal tract to accept certain types of food. A person with a weak constitution may develop intolerance to certain types of food such as lactose, gluten and peanut. They become allergic to these types of food and develop chronic diarrhea whenever they ingest even small portions of them. Lactose and gluten intolerance are the more common allergies or intolerance there is. Lactose intolerance is the inability of the small intestines to absorbed or digests dairy products. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) occurs in people who ingest food that they are allergic too. IBS is a type of chronic diarrhea. People who are allergic to specific types of food should stay clear from them in order to prevent the occurrence of chronic diarrhea.
Presence of yeast in the digestive tract. Certain fungi or yeast when ingested can be helpful in the digestion process. However, there are certain types of fungi that are harmful to the body and may cause chronic diarrhea once they are ingested. If not addressed quickly, these fungi might multiply within the gastrointestinal tract making the life of the person who ingested them at risk. Candida albicans is a type of fungi that is beneficial when ingested at low concentrations but may harm the body when high concentrations are ingested.
Underlying Diseases. Certain diseases or medical conditions contribute to the occurrence of chronic diarrhea. A person with liver failure may experience chronic diarrhea because the liver is not excreting enough bile to aid in the digestion of food. Other diseases such as diabetes and Crohn’s Diseases may also cause chronic diarrhea. Crohn’s diseases usually causes chronic diarrhea with yellow or pale stool. When this happens, a person should immediately consult a doctor and have his or her stool tested.
Chronic diarrhea may be brought about by different factors and therefore, the treatment of the symptoms of chronic diarrhea may not be the same for every case. If your diarrhea lasts for more than a week, it may already be categorized as chronic diarrhea and therefore tests should be done to diagnose its cause.