Chronic Diarrhea is long-lasting diarrhea, which is more than 2 weeks. Diarrhea itself is a symptom of a disturbance in the digestive tract which causes a person's stool to become runny and runny. In addition to changes in the shape of the stool, diarrhea is also characterized by heartburn due to the movement of the digestive tract which becomes more active.
Short duration of diarrhea is usually not a serious medical condition. Conversely, diarrhea that lasts a long time and is not handled properly can be life threatening.
Causes of Chronic Diarrhea
Chronic diarrhea is a symptom of an illness. Therefore, it is very important to identify the cause of this condition. Some diseases that can cause chronic diarrhea, are:
- Irritable bowel syndrome , which is a collection of symptoms of the digestive tract without any abnormalities of these organs.
- Inflammatory bowel disease, namely ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
- Diseases that can interfere with food absorption, for example lactose intolerance, celiac disease, and Whipple's disease.
- Bacterial or parasitic infections .
- Side effects of drugs, such as antibiotics, laxatives, ulcer drugs, and chemotherapy drugs.
- Side effects of abdominal area surgery.
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Symptoms of Chronic Diarrhea
In addition to the runny stools and increased urge to defecate, chronic diarrhea can also be accompanied by:
- Abdominal cramps
- Severe abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Vomiting blood or bloody bowel movements
- Sweating at night
Diagnosis of Chronic Diarrhea
The diagnosis process aims to find the cause of chronic diarrhea. Besides symptoms, medical history, and physical examination, investigations need to be conducted. Among them:
- Stool test .
- Blood test.
- Biopsy, by taking samples of certain tissues from the digestive tract.
- Endoscopy, which is an examination of the condition of the digestive tract visually with a special device called an endoscope.
- Scanning, such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI.
Chronic Diarrhea Treatment
Treatment of chronic diarrhea is done by treating diseases that cause diarrhea, as well as administering drugs to relieve symptoms, such as bismuth h and loperamide . Chronic diarrhea due to bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotics. While diarrhea that occurs due to parasitic infections, can be treated using antiparasitic drugs.
If chronic diarrhea results from inflammation of the intestine, treatment can be in the form of anti-inflammatory drugs, drugs to reduce the immune system, and surgery.
Doctors will also recommend patients with chronic diarrhea to change their diet, whether to treat the causes of their own diarrhea or help cure. Patients who suffer from chronic diarrhea due to impaired absorption of nutrients, will be asked to avoid foods that can trigger diarrhea. An example is avoiding dairy products for people with lactose intolerance. Whereas in patients with chronic diarrhea due to celiac disease , doctors will recommend avoiding foods that contain gluten, such as bread.
In addition, chronic diarrhea sufferers are recommended to:
- Eating low-fiber foods
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
- Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks
- Not overeating
Complications of Chronic Diarrhea
The main complications that can arise due to chronic diarrhea are dehydration due to the loss of large amounts of fluid. Dehydration that is not handled properly can be life threatening. Chronic diarrhea sufferers must be vigilant and immediately consult a doctor if symptoms of dehydration arise, such as:
- Dark urine
- Often feel thirsty
Prevention of Chronic Diarrhea
Chronic diarrhea caused by infectious diseases, especially bacteria or parasites, can be avoided by the following steps:
- Drink clean water or boiled water.
- Clean food ingredients well before cooking.
- Cooking food, especially meat, until it's perfectly cooked.
- Washing hands after using the toilet, changing diapers, or visiting a sick person.