Diarrhea is an unpleasant condition that is not only uncomfortable and physically painful, but also something that will render you unable to enjoy your life or even leave your home for long periods while it occurs. At the same time it causes damage to the body creating dehydration and rendering the body unable to utilise the vital nutrients before they are expelled from the body. This makes constant diarrhea incredibly taxing on an individual emotionally and physically, and more importantly an indication that something is very wrong in the body.
Constant diarrhea can be a symptom of many different conditions. Diarrhea that lasts for more than 2 weeks can be considered ‘constant’ or chronic meaning its likely to be caused by something other than an ‘upset stomach’.
Someone who has regularly reoccurring diarrhea might suffer from IBS or ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome’ which is an underlying condition triggered by stress or certain foods. Diagnosis tends to be made purely through the exclusion of other causes along with the recurring chronic nature.
One unpleasant cause of chronic diarrhea is intestinal parasites which can take the form of either worms or single celled organisms and feed on the stool in the intestines. Here the constant diarrhea is likely to be accompanied by abdominal pain and ‘bloating’ as well as blood and worms in the stool. Weight loss is another common indicator. Doctors can then do tests on the stool or blood samples and will treat the condition with anti-parasitic drugs.
Parasites are a form of food poisoning. Food poisoning is any of many illnesses caused by consuming food and/or drink contaminated by bacteria (such as salmonella), viruses (e.g. norovius), parasites or toxins and chemicals. Most cases of food poisoning will subside after a week, but parasites and the bacteria salmonella and listeria will persist for longer. These conditions will result in constant diarrhea as well as sickness, fever, headaches, jaundice and nausea.
Some diseases can obviously trigger diarrhea. These are Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Chrohn’s disesase and ulcerative colitis. These are also likely to cause fatigue, nausea, fever and lower abdominal pain to just one side. Gallbladder disease often occurs in conjunction with cramping below the right ribs and tends to appear within an hour after a meal. Diarrhea then occurs if the bile ducts are blocked and is white in colour.
Many allergies can also cause constant diarrhea. This could be a reaction to a particular food, to a medication, to fructose or lactose. In fructose malabsorption diarrhea with bloating will occur 48 hours after a meal involving large amounts of fructose.
There are many causes of continuous diarrhea then and it is necessary to see a doctor in order to find the correct cause. While chronic diarrhea is diagnosed as that lasting more than two weeks, it is important to see a doctor if the diarrhea continues for any more than 24 hours as it could be a sign of a serious condition.