Diarrhea is defined as liquid stool, rather than soft or formed stool, which has a daily weight exceeding 250 grams and is accompanied by excess fluid loss and number of bowel movements. Normal stool frequency in healthy subjects is variable and no lower limit has been defined; the average number of bowel movements is between one movement every 3 days and 3 movements per day. Four general mechanisms are responsible for diarrhea: morphologic alterations of intestinal mucosa, osmotic malabsorption, secretory derangement, and aberrant in-testinal motility. Determining the chronicity of Symptoms, previous surgery, recent travel history, and State of general physical health helps to identify the etiology. Therapy should be aimed at the cause (if possible).


Short Bowel Syndrome Bacterial Overgrowth Islet Cell Tumor Exocrine Pancrealic Deficiency Collagenous Colitis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Drexel Dobson

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