What Is Idiopathic Diarrhea? Symptoms And Treatment Options

Diarrhea is frequent passage of bowel movement most commonly more than three to four times in a day. The stool in diarrhea cases is watery and unformed. Diarrhea can develop due to many causes; however, in some people the underlying cause of diarrhea remains uncertain. Such type of diarrhea is called idiopathic diarrhea.

Idiopathic diarrhea is mostly chronic, meaning the condition is present for more than 4 weeks. However, sometimes even acute cases of diarrhea may be functional. This form of diarrhea is sudden in onset and they resolve even spontaneously. Acute diarrhea usually does not need any special investigation.

While most chronic idiopathic diarrhea need to be investigated thoroughly.

In the event if no abnormality is detected, than the most probable cause for such diarrhea can be functional diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. However, before labeling as functional diarrhea, all other forms of diarrhea that are caused due to infection, inflammation, food allergies, malabsorption should be excluded.

Symptoms Of Idiopathic Diarrhea

Most patients with idiopathic diarrhea are in good health prior to the onset of this condition. These patients have normal stool frequencies prior to the onset of diarrhea. Some patients may also have previous history of constipation.

There is history of diarrhea for more than 4 weeks.

The onset of idiopathic diarrhea is abrupt. After the onset patient may complain of frequent watery stools. Patient may pass 10 to 20 bowel movements in a day. Some patients may have to visit the bathroom even at night or early morning with an urgency to defecate.

Majority cases of chronic idiopathic diarrhea may not present with abdominal cramps, flatulence, excessive mucus in stool, distension of abdomen. Patient complains of moderate weight loss soon after the onset of diarrhea.

Treatment Options For Idiopathic Diarrhea

Chronic idiopathic diarrhea is sudden in onset. Its underlying cause is not known. Thus such form of diarrhea is called idiopathic diarrhea. However, before diagnosing this condition all other probable causes of diarrhea need to be ruled out. Chronic idiopathic diarrhea usually persists for a prolonged period of time, which is for 2 to 3 years with a mean period of 15 months. Patient becomes exhausted and fatigued due to too many bowel movements in a day.

Most cases of idiopathic functional diarrhea do not respond to antibiotics and anti amebic treatment. But after a prolonged period of time the diarrhea spontaneously resolve. During this period much care needs to be taken by the patient to prevent dehydration.

  • Patient should frequently drink water and fluids to replenish the lost fluid salt from the body.
  • Certain herbal remedies such as raspberry leaves, blackberry root bark, chamomile, are found to be useful to calm the stomach and control loose stools.
  • Due to frequent loose stools, the intestine may not be able to absorb vitamins and other nutrients as they need to. This can cause malabsorption syndrome due to deficiency of vitamin and proteins. Patient should increase consumption of protein containing food. He can also take vitamin supplement.
  • Alternative medicines are also beneficial in treatment of chronic idiopathic diarrhea. Acupuncture is a Chinese therapy which is found effective in treatment of functional gastrointestinal problems such as this.
  • Homeopathic medicines such as sulphur, mercurius, pulsatilla, cal carb, are useful to treat diarrhea.

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