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 diet, medications, bile acid malabsorption, Celiac disease, Giardia infection, pancreatic insufficiency, IBD, microscopic colitis, small-bowel bacterial overgrowth, endocrine disorders, IBS, and functional diarrhea. Functional diarrhea is loose or watery stools that occur at least 75% of the time and are not associated with pain (setting this diagnosis apart from IBS). 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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