What is diarrhea? What causes it? How to stop it? All that & more in my latest article for FODMAP Everyday.
Diarrhea lasting more than four weeks is chronic, whereas diarrhea persisting less than 2 weeks is acute. IBS-D is a top cause of chronic diarrhea and the focus of this article. However, chronic diarrhea can stem from other conditions, so it’s important to see a doctor and not self-diagnose.
Here’s a partial list of health conditions associated with chronic diarrhea:
- Bile acid diarrhea (discussed below)
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s diseases
- Dumping syndrome
- Microscopic colitis
- Pancreatic disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Previous abdominal surgery
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
Roughly one-third of people with IBS-D suffer from bile acid diarrhea. Bile acids help us digest and absorb dietary fats. Afterwards they’re recycled in the small intestine. However, some conditions inhibit bile acid reabsorption so they pass on to the colon where they speed up colonic transit and promote water and electrolyte secretion, resulting in diarrhea.
Bile acid diarrhea can occur for reasons other than IBS (e.g. gallbladder removal, Crohn’s ileitis), but put it on your radar, especially if you don’t respond to standard IBS therapy.
Literally and figuratively, diarrhea is draining, and it’s impossible to fix without knowing what’s causing it. Is it your diet, a medication, an infection, or undiagnosed health condition? This piece delves into probable causes of chronic diarrhea, discusses everyday triggers, and offers actionable management strategies.