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Common Causes of Chronic Diarrhea

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Diarrhea only usually lasts for a day or two. In some instances, it refuses to go away. Diarrhea that lasts for several weeks is referred to as chronic diarrhea, and this article will get you acquainted with some of its common causes.

Before we proceed, let’s first get to know chronic diarrhea more.

Everyone is aware that diarrhea is something that can cause a person to rush to the bathroom more often than normal because of abdominal pain and watery or loose stools. According to health authorities, diarrhea is characterized by the passing of watery or loose stools for at least three times a day.

So in other words, chronic diarrhea is the passing of watery or loose stools three or more times a day for several weeks. Needless to say, complications can strike if it’s not dealt with accordingly.

Prior to treating chronic diarrhea, it’s important to first identify the cause of it. There are many different probable reasons behind chronic diarrhea, ranging from food intolerances to the intake of certain medications. Below are some of the most common causes of chronic diarrhea, doctors say:

Food Sensitivities

You may have undiagnosed food intolerances or allergies. Because you are not aware of the existence of such, you keep on consuming foods that your gastrointestinal (GI) tract doesn’t like. Needless to say, your bout of diarrhea won’t come to an end for as long as you’re having foods that you are intolerant or allergic to.

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Aside from chronic diarrhea, some of the other telltale signs of food sensitivities include stomach pain, bloating, flatulence and nausea. Others may experience headaches and malaise.


Some medications are known to cause chronic diarrhea, either as an allergic reaction to them or a side effect. Even if the person has been taking them for a long time, he or she may keep on having chronic diarrhea.

Antibiotics are notorious for causing diarrhea. It’s for the fact that they are capable of altering the balance of microbes in the gut — it’s not just disease-causing bacteria that antibiotics zap, but also beneficial ones. This is the reason why someone who just finished a course of antibiotics is recommended to consume yogurt and other food sources of good bacteria.


Just like what the name suggests, malabsorption is due to any condition regarding the digestive system that can impede proper absorption of food or nutrients.

One very common example of malabsorption that can cause chronic diarrhea is celiac disease, which is characterized by the small intestine’s hypersensitivity to gluten. Diseases that can impede proper fat absorption can also cause chronic diarrhea, and some examples are alcoholic liver disease and chronic pancreatitis.

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Short for inflammatory bowel disease, IBD is used by doctors to refer to a couple of digestive system conditions, and they are crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Health authorities say that crohn’s disease is characterized by the chronic inflammation of the various parts of the GI tract — different areas of the digestive system from the mouth to the anus may be affected in different people. On the other hand, ulcerative colitis affects only the colon, in particular its inner lining.

Motility Issues

There are certain medical conditions that do not involve the GI tract but can have a direct effect on it. More often than not, such health issues can cause changes in a person’s toilet habits.

Hyperthyroidism is known to cause chronic diarrhea in people who are suffering from it. That’s because excessive amounts of thyroid hormones can speed up gastric motility, or the rhythmic movement of the contents of the GI tract. Autonomic neuropathy is another medical condition that can cause chronic diarrhea.

WARNING: If you are suffering from chronic diarrhea, make sure that you pay your doctor a visit. It’s important to have its cause identified so that the necessary dietary or lifestyle adjustments may be made, or the right treatment may be provided. Failure to manage it as soon as possible can lead to complications like dehydration and malnutrition.

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