Chronic diarrhea might be the first indication you have Crohn’s disease or another serious gastrointestinal condition. At East Coast Gastroenterology and Endoscopy in Patchogue, New York, Christopher Tomaino, MD, can help you identify the cause of chronic diarrhea using advanced, on-site testing. Dr. Tomaino also offers customized treatment plans to address the root cause of your diarrhea and help you prevent dehydration and other complications. Learn more about treatment options for persistent diarrhea by calling East Coast Gastroenterology and Endoscopy or by requesting an appointment online today.

What causes diarrhea?

Diarrhea describes watery, loose bowel movements. This condition is a common digestive issue among people of all ages and may be a symptom of a virus, food intolerance, or the use of certain medications.

Acute diarrhea generally lasts for a day or two before resolving on its own. If you experience diarrhea for several days or longer, your condition might be chronic and relate to an underlying digestive disorder.

Common causes of chronic diarrhea include:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Diverticulitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

If left untreated, chronic diarrhea can cause dehydration, which can be life-threatening, especially to the elderly and people with a weak immune system.

You should schedule a diagnostic evaluation for chronic diarrhea at East Coast Gastroenterology and Endoscopy, especially if you also have symptoms like abdominal pain, fever, or blood in your stool.

How is chronic diarrhea diagnosed?

To determine the underlying cause of diarrhea, Dr. Tomaino spends time reviewing your personal and family medical history, your diet, and your existing health. He might request a blood test to identify infections and other issues.

In some cases, you might need a colonoscopy to evaluate your lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract. During this procedure, Dr. Tomaino inserts a lighted tube with an attached camera into your rectum and moves it up into your colon. The camera sends real-time images of your GI tract to a monitor that Dr. Tomaino watches to identify inflammation and other causes of diarrhea.

How is chronic diarrhea treated?

To reduce the frequency and severity of diarrhea, Dr. Tomaino customizes a care plan that might involve antibiotics to clear an infection and medications to stop diarrhea.

You also need to ensure you’re drinking lots of water and eating a nutritious diet. If you’re very dehydrated, you might need to receive supplemental fluids intravenously.

Dr. Tomaino can help you design a special diet and healthy eating plan if your diarrhea relates to celiac disease or a food intolerance or allergy.

If you have chronic diarrhea because of an underlying condition like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, Dr. Tomaino can create a treatment plan to better manage your condition and prevent more serious gastrointestinal complications.

To learn more about the available treatment for chronic diarrhea and its causes, call East Coast Gastroenterology and Endoscopy, or book an appointment online today.

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