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Chronic Diarrhea


Diarrhea is chronic when it occurs 3 or more times a day for more than 4 weeks.



  • Antidiarrheal medicine: This medicine is given to decrease the amount of diarrhea you are having. Some of these medicines coat the intestine (bowel) and make the BM less watery. Other antidiarrheal medicine works by slowing down how fast the intestine is moving.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


  • Do not eat foods that cause your diarrhea: If you know which foods cause your diarrhea, do not eat them. If you do not know what causes your diarrhea, keep a food diary to see if your symptoms are caused by certain foods. Bring this to your follow-up visits.
  • Drink plenty of liquids: You may need to drink extra liquids to prevent dehydration. You may need an oral rehydrating solution (ORS). This is a drink that contains the right amount of salt, sugar, and minerals in water. This can be found at most grocery stores or pharmacies.
  • Do not drink or eat foods that contain caffeine or alcohol: These may cause your symptoms to be worse and lead to dehydration.
  • Wash your hands often: Use soap and water. Germ-killing hand gel is available if you are not near water. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, change a child's diaper, or sneeze. Wash your hands before you prepare or eat food.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have new signs and symptoms.
  • Your signs and symptoms do not improve, or they get worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your skin, mouth, and tongue are dry, and you feel very thirsty.
  • You have blood or pus in your bowel movement.
  • You have trouble eating, drinking, or keeping food down.
  • You have severe abdominal pain.
  • You feel lightheaded, weak, or you faint.
  • Your heart beats faster than normal or you have trouble breathing.
  • You are confused or cannot think clearly.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.