If you have recurring or persistent diarrhoea, that is diarrhoea that is not just a once off event or diarrhoea that lasts for more than one week, then you are not going to be able to Google your way out of it, you will need to see a doctor and get a proper diagnosis. In adults, persistent or recurring watery bowel movement is far too an important a signal to be simply be left to chance.
As well as that, as you will see below, no one type of diarrhoea has any unique features to make it stand out from the rest and to suggest the diagnosis for itself.
What are the common causes of diarrhoea in adults?
I am referring here to people in the developed world and excluding topical diseases or traveller’s diarrhoea. Here are the main causes:
- Infection, also called gastroenteritis or viral enteritis or “food poisoning”. This type of diarrhoea is usually short lived, that is it only lasts for a few days. It may be accompanied or preceded by nausea and vomiting. It is usually self limiting and requires no treatment other than lots of clear fluids.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This form of diarrhoea is often accompanied by cramps and a chronic bloating sensation. It is given to long periods of exacerbation and remission. It is often difficult to find the solution.
- Diverticular disease. Also called Diverticulosis, this diarrhoea is also accompanied by severe cramps, fever, and blood in bowel movement. It too is given to periods of remission and exacerbations and remissions.
- Crohn’s Disease. The diarrhoea of Crohn’s disease is much like that of the above other than that Crohn’s is a disease that affects younger people, typically those under 30 years of age.
- Micro-infection colitis. This is a relatively recently discovered cause of diarrhoea. It closely mimics Irritable bowel syndrome and requires a biopsy to distinguish it. If you are struggling with a diagnosis of IBS then you need to make sure that what you have is nor Micro-infection colitis. The only way to do this is to have biopsies taken at various sites of your large bowel.
- Ulcerative Colitis. This type of diarrhoea is often accompanied by mucus and blood although that may be said of all causes of diarrhoea.
- Cholio-rectal Cancer. I leave this until last, not because it is the least important and obscure but because it is the most important and unfortunately not all that uncommon either. This is the form of diarrhoea that will kill you if it is not diagnosed in time. And that is why I will say it again, this time in heavy print and italics: Any diarrhoea that lasts for more than one week and/or that is recurring must be investigated as a matter of urgency.
Such diarrhoea simply can not be ignored or left to the mercies of Dr Google.
If you are worried by recurring diarrhoea and are looking for some answers then we may be able to guide you. Our Online Medical Consultation Service is fast, affordable, private and incredibly stress free. It starts right here with a free medical assessment.