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What causes chronic diarrhea?

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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 16302 Questions

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Posted on Fri, 13 May 2016 in Digestion and Bowels
Question: I have had diahria for about a month usually starts about 1.5 hours after eating anything.
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
discontinue some meds, food diary, may need assessment

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

Diarrhea for a month would be called chronic diarrhea.

You should consider stopping the milk of magnesia, this is a laxative used for constipation and would worsen the diarrhea.

If the diarrhea still continues after this is stopped then need to find the cause.
Causes of chronic diarrhea are: (a)infection- a stool sample sent to the lab would determine if there is an infection present

(b)food intolerance or lactose intolerance- intolerance to some foods including cows milk can cause diarrhea
You can keep a food diary to see if there are any particular foods that make it worse

(c)irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)- this is one of the common causes

(d)inflammatory bowel disease- this mainly refers to two conditions, crohns disease and ulcerative colitis
These are diseases where there is inflammation of the colon because the body's immune system is not behaving normally and is attacking the colon.

(e)side effect of medication
If you are on any long term meds, would need to see if diarrhea is one of the side effects

(f)hormonal conditions such as diabetes or high levels of thyroid hormone

To find out the cause for you, consider: (a) discontinuing the milk of magnesia and any other medication that can cause diarrhea
(b)keep a food diary- note each drink/solid food and any symptoms that occur
(c)if cannot find a specific food and the diarrhea continues despite the milk of magnesia then would need to consider visiting your doctor because you would need blood tests and stool tests.

Medications such as lomotil and peptobismol help with diarrhea

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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