Chronic diarrhea is a term used to describe loose or watery stools more than 3 times per day for more than 4 weeks. Possible causes of chronic diarrhea include dietary factors such as high FODMAP sensitivity, gluten sensitivity, lactose or fructose malabsorption, medications, bile acid malabsorption, Celiac disease, parasitic infections, pancreatic insufficiency, IBD, microscopic colitis, small-bowel bacterial overgrowth, endocrine disorders. More commonly the diarrhea is caused by IBS-D, which is abdominal pain associated with diarrhea or functional diarrhea which is loose or watery stools that occur at least 25% of the time and are not associated with pain (setting this diagnosis apart from IBS in which there is pain). These symptoms must occur for at least 6 months. It has been found individuals with functional diarrhea have a rapid transit time of food through the colon, especially after a meal. There may also be altered bacteria within the bowel.
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