Diarrhea and Malabsorption Syndromes
Chronic diarrhea is a common problem in both children and adults.1 Diarrhea is defined as the excess loss of water and electrolytes in the feces, leading to the increased frequency, fluidity, and volume of bowel movements. This discussion will focus on the mechanism of diarrhea and the clinical and laboratory approach to the diagnosis. Although the discussion will be primarily aimed at the problem in the pediatric age group, the overall approach is relevant to the adult patient. A complete discussion of all the causes of chronic diarrhea in children and adults is not feasible here, but Table 1 lists the extensive differential diagnoses for chronic diarrhea and malabsorption in infancy and childhood. Many of these conditions are rare. In many children and adults with chronic diarrhea, despite extensive investigation, no specific entity can be identified.
KeywordsCystic Fibrosis Celiac Disease Chronic Diarrhea Pancreatic Insufficiency Watery Diarrhea
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