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Gastroenterology clinics of North America

Functional diarrhea.


PMID 22917168

Abstract

Chronic diarrhea is a frequent and challenging problem in clinical medicine. In a considerable subgroup of these, no underlying cause is identified and this is referred to as functional diarrhea. A consensus definition for functional diarrhea is based on loose stool consistency and chronicity and absence of coexisting irritable bowel syndrome. Underlying pathophysiology includes rapid intestinal transit, which may be worsened by stress or be triggered by a preceding infectious gastroenteritis. Diagnostic work-up aims at exclusion of underlying organic disease. Treatment starts with dietary adjustments, aiming at decreasing nutrients that enhance transit and stool and at identifying precipitating food items.