Diarrhoea is labelled chronic by a doctor, when it occurs at least three or more times daily for more than four weeks! That’s a long time to suffer believe me!
What are the causes chronic diarrhoea?Chronic diarrhoea can often be a result of or caused by a symptom of an illness, infection, or another condition; known or unknown to the sufferer. Increasingly the number of people who have a reaction to food having difficulty or being unable to digest particular foods: lactose the sugar found in dairy products, lactase the protein found in dairy products, fats, caffeine, alcohol, acid, yeast, chemicals and much more. Another cause may be from infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites found in food or travelling abroad where we are not used to theses living organisms. I have found medicines such as laxatives and antibiotics cause chronic diarrhoea and apparently; cancer treatments, heart medicines, minerals; magnesium, can cause chronic diarrhoea in some people. In addition to this, medical conditions that affect the stomach or intestines: inflammatory bowel disease; IBS; Thyroid, pancreatic or liver disorders; cancers can also cause chronic diarrhoea; autoimmune diseases for example, coeliac or crohn’s disease, often cause periods of chronic diarrhoea. Having any surgery or procedures whether medical or cosmetic: including any invasive stomach or bowel surgery, especially where damage to muscles which control bowel movements is caused. I believe having Caesarean sections cause this, but the doctors and consultants cannot comment until more research is done to confirm. Which reminds me that, Medicine is a relatively new Science
The signs and symptoms of chronic diarrhoea are severe abdominal pain with an overwhelmingly urgent need to have a bowel movement or even worse a loss of bowel control. Additionally, there may be a small amount of blood, mucus, or pus in your bowel movement which you need to notify your doctor about when considering the cause of the chronic diarrhoea. Due to going to the toilet three or more times a day for four weeks it is inevitable that some weight loss will occur (this varies in sufferers). Also due to the increase in frequent rapid bowel movements then some anal discomfort is likely to be caused by sores with irritation and inflammation – zinc and castor oil cream or sudocrem will alleviate this somewhat or visit a pharmacist who will advise.
Treatment depends on what the condition is which is causing your chronic diarrhoea.
Oral rehydration therapy
You must drink more liquids to replace body fluids lost through diarrhoea to prevent dehydration.
You may be advised of your need to drink an Oral Rehydration Solution, (ORS) especially babies, young children, pregnant women or the elderly. As the Oral Rehydration Solution has the exact amounts of sugar, salt, and minerals in water which are needed to replace body fluids.
This is given as it decreases the frequency and amount of diarrhoea you are having by coating the intestine (bowel) so making the stool less watery or working by slowing down how fast the intestine is moving.
Discuss with your practitioner if one medicine does not work you may require one which slows down the bowel movements, peppermint tea also aids slowing bowel movement which I prefer over drugs.
Chronic diarrhoea is diagnosed by a general practitioner (doctor) or nurse initially they will examine you, ask about your symptoms; make sure you say if have noticed any: unusual colour or smell to your bowel movements; blood, mucus, or oil droplets in your bowel movement, after eating certain foods; if you have travelled abroad recently; if who you live with or are close to has had the same symptoms.
It is therefore routine to take tests to eliminate or show certain causes of your symptoms:
Blood sample is sent to a laboratory testing that major internal organs, e.g. kidneys, are working correctly.
Sample of your bowel movement is sent to a laboratory to aid finding the possible cause of your chronic diarrhoea.
X-ray of your abdomen to show if there is a possible cause of your chronic diarrhoea.
CT scan or CAT scan, this is an x-ray machine which uses a computer to take photographs of your abdomen, which may show the cause of your chronic diarrhoea. A dye is given before the pictures are taken to help the practitioner to see the photograph better.
N.B. The caregiver needs to know if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy is a procedure to examine the inside of the colon which is the large intestine). A thin flexible tube with a small light and camera on the end is used. The procedure is normally shown on a screen for the doctor which you can watch if you wish. A biopsy and photographs may be taken to eliminate possible causes and for future reference.
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