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Diarrhoea means there are frequent, loose or liquid stools. There may be a gripey abdominal pain (colic), which is less after a stool is passed.
Acute diarrhoea: comes on suddenly and lasts a short time.
Chronic diarrhoea: affects someone over a long period of time.
Some people pass frequent, small solid stools with a sense of urgency. This is not true diarrhoea and occurs when the rectum is irritable as in the irritable bowel syndrome or inflamed as in colitis.
What causes diarrhoea? 
Too much fluid is passed (secreted) from the blood stream into the bowel, for example in gastroenteritis. This is how some laxatives work.
The bowel moves its contents through too quickly and too little fluid is passed back into the bloodstream. This is one way in which anxiety produces diarrhoea.
More liquid is drunk than the bowel can cope with – this seldom happens, but is one way in which drinking too much beer can cause diarrhoea.
What causes acute diarrhoea?
Food poisoning
Gastroenteritis (see separate leaflet on the prevention and treatment of travellers’ diarrhoea)
Sometimes treatment with an antibiotic
Alcohol (to excess).
What causes chronic diarrhoea? 
When diarrhoea goes on for a long time, the most likely cause is irritable bowel syndrome. It is called a ‘functional’ condition. This means that the bowel produces stools, which are looser or more frequent than normal, although the bowel is not diseased.Diarrhoea


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