A wide range of problems can cause chronic diarrhea; some of the most common causes include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis), malabsorption syndromes in which food cannot be digested and absorbed, and chronic infections .
In most cases, diarrhea can be treated at home with plenty of liquids to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. The BRAT diet — bananas, rice, apple sauce, and toast — can also help ease symptoms. Potatoes, peanut butter, and skinless chicken or turkey are also other good food choices.
Chronic diarrhea may be a symptom of a more serious condition such as irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease . Frequent and severe diarrhea could be a sign of intestinal disease or a functional bowel disorder .
When Symptoms Get Serious Talk with your doctor if your child has diarrhea for more than 24 hours. If you have it for more than 3 days, make an appointment. Call your doctor right away if you have: Severe abdominal or rectal pain.
Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast These bland foods are low-fiber, which will help firm your stool and calm your stomach.
Schedule a doctor’s visit for yourself if: Your diarrhea lasts more than two days without improvement. You become dehydrated — indicated by excessive thirst, dry mouth or skin, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness, or dark-colored urine. You have severe abdominal or rectal pain.
A diet known as BRAT may also quickly relieve diarrhea . BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. This diet is effective due to the bland nature of these foods, and the fact that they’re starchy, low-fiber foods. These foods have a binding effect in the digestive tract to make stools bulkier.
Lifestyle and home remedies Drink plenty of clear liquids, including water, broths and juices. Add semisolid and low-fiber foods gradually as your bowel movements return to normal. Avoid certain foods such as dairy products, fatty foods, high-fiber foods or highly seasoned foods for a few days.
Two types of meds relieve diarrhea in different ways: Loperamide ( Imodium ) slows the movement of food through your intestines, which lets your body absorb more liquid. Bismuth subsalicylate ( Kaopectate , Pepto-Bismol ) balances out how fluid moves through your digestive tract.
Stop or decrease any agents that may be associated with diarrhea . Decrease any foods that may upset digestive system such as spicy foods, fried foods, citrus fruit, and dairy. Lactose-Free and Caffeine- Free Diet. – infections are usually self-limiting and should resolve themselves with time (usually 48 hours).
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are two examples of IBD. Both cause persistent diarrhea , cramping, weight loss, and tiredness. Some hormonal disorders, such as hyperthyroidism and diabetes, can cause chronic diarrhea , especially if there is nerve damage to the intestinal tract.
The most common cause of diarrhea is a virus that infects your bowel (“viral gastroenteritis”). The infection usually lasts a couple of days and is sometimes called “intestinal flu.” Other possible causes of diarrhea can include: Infection by bacteria.
Some infections, food allergies and intolerances, digestive tract problems, abdominal surgery, and long-term use of medicines can cause chronic diarrhea . Some infections from bacteria and parasites that cause diarrhea do not go away quickly without treatment.
Acute diarrhea generally lasts for 1 to 2 days . It can sometimes last up to 2 weeks. However, this type of diarrhea is usually mild and resolves on its own.
Bacteria that cause diarrhea -producing infections include salmonella and E. coli. Contaminated food and fluids are common sources of bacterial infections. Rotavirus, norovirus, and other kinds of viral gastroenteritis, commonly referred to as “stomach flu,” are among the viruses that can cause explosive diarrhea .