Viruses, such as Norwalk virus, cytomegalovirus, viral hepatitis and rotavirus (especially in children).
Bacterial such as campylobacter, salmonella, shigella and Escherichia coli.
Parasites including Giardia lamblia and cryptosporidium.
Medications, such as antibiotics which may lead to a disturbance in the natural balance of microorganisms in the intestines. This can lead to Clostridium difficile l infection which in turn leads to diarrhea.
Lactose intolerance due to lack of an enzyme that digests lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products.
Fructose, a sugar found in fruits and honey and added to some beverages as a sweetener, can cause diarrhea in people who have trouble digesting it.
Artificial sweeteners, such as sorbitol and mannitol found in chewing gum and other sugar-free products.
Abdominal surgery or gallbladder removal surgery.
Other digestive disorders, such Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, microscopic colitis and irritable bowel disease.These disorders are usually accompanied by chronic diarrhea.
Diarrhea occurs when food or liquid passes too fast, in large amounts or a combination of both through the colon (large intestines).
The colon normally absorbs water, leading to the formation of semisolid stools. In diarrhea, water is not absorbed in the colon, this leads to the formation of watery stools.
4 Making a Diagnosis
Tests and procedures that can be used to diagnose the cause of diarrhea include:
A physical exam to check for fever and signs of dehydration and to measure blood pressure and pulse. Doctors may also check if the patient has abdominal pain.
Medical history including a review of all medications and supplements that a patient has been taking.
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