We are used to our habitual bowel habits. It is when these habits become more frequent, fluid and voluminous that the possibility of diarrhea arises.  Most of the reasons behind this are benign and self limiting, however, many last longer than 2 weeks and merit a medical opinion/further investigation particularly if you are over 60. A persistent history of diarrhoea, especially when associated with bleeding from the rectum (back passage) is particularly worrying and further investigation is highly recommended at any age.

On consultation at the Midland Gut Clinic, you will typically be asked about recent antibiotic use, drug history, suspect food ingestion and recent travel abroad.  Accompanying symptoms of concern would include abdominal pain and weight loss. We would also enquire about the history of onset, frequency, consistency, content of stool, nocturnal episodes, incontinence and importantly the presence of blood. A family history of gastrointestinal disease is also relevant. Diagnostic work up may include the relevant endoscopic procedures and radiological imaging such as an ultrasound scan, CT scan and Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Unfriendly bacteria found in suspect foods and acquired after ingestion of these foods or contaminated drinking water can lead to severe gastroenteritis manifesting as diarrhoea, abdominal pain and vomiting. Viruses may also cause similar symptoms but are usually less severe.  Most of these infections once diagnosed can be cleared with appropriate treatment but symptoms may stay and evolve into an irritable bowel and/or inflammatory bowel disease.

A significant proportion of the population also have a genetic preponderance to intestinal hurry. This cohort has an inherited intolerance to gluten in the diet which in its most extreme will manifest as diarrhoea. This is known as celiac disease and can be detected diagnosed and treated by the Midland Gut Clinic.