Current Gastroenterology Reports

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 421–427

Update on Chronic Diarrhea: A Run-Through for the Clinician

Large Intestine (B Cash, Section Editor)


Chronic diarrhea is a common patient complaint, with an estimated prevalence of 5 %. Diarrhea is defined as >200 g/day of stool with decreased consistency, and chronic diarrhea is defined as lasting more than 4 weeks. The purpose of this review is to guide the clinician’s diagnostic evaluation and management of chronic diarrhea, rather than providing a textbook comprehensive review of the subject, focusing on the patient in developed countries and excluding the immune suppressed patient. While the investigation and treatment of chronic diarrhea can be challenging due to its myriad causes, when the clinician employs a practical approach, dividing chronic diarrhea into bloody, fatty, and watery causes, it simplifies and streamlines the work-up and management plan and leads to improved patient outcomes.


Chronic diarrhea Diagnosis diarrhea Management diarrhea Inflammatory bowel disease Infectious diarrhea Bile acid malabsorption Pancreatic insufficiency Celiac disease Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth Irritable bowel syndrome 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Division of Gastroenterology, Harborview Medical CenterUniversity of Washington School of MedicineSeattleUSA

Personalised recommendations