What are the types of diarrhea?

Diarrhea is a common issue. Most often acute, it may happen that it persists or even turns into a chronic disorder. Discover the different types of diarrhea.

Acute diarrhea is a common issue that everyone faces in their lives. Persistent or chronic diarrhea can make a genuine impact on the quality of life but also on health, generally speaking. It is therefore important to know how to recognize the different types of diarrhea and take action accordingly, to be able to treat the symptoms and the underlying causes. 

Acute diarrhea
Acute diarrhea appears suddenly. It is the most common and is often related to food ingestion containing a bacterium, a parasite, or a toxin. It is defined as a sudden appearance of 3 or more loose stools per day and lasts no more than 14 days.

Persistent diarrhea
This type of diarrhea goes beyond 14 days. In this case, you need to consult a doctor to find out the cause of this diarrhea and treat it. This diarrhea may be related to food intolerance, or a disease that affects your bowel function.

Chronic Diarrhea 
Chronic diarrhea is considered to be loose stools that lasts at least four weeks. There are many possible causes for chronic diarrhea. In this case, the treatment will consist in getting rid of the cause of the diarrhea (if possible) and treating the complications, in order to stop the symptoms. It is important to consult a doctor in the case of chronic diarrhea because not only can the symptoms prove to be dangerous in the long run, but it can also be a more serious disease such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Recognize diarrhea through the Bristol scale
The Bristol Scale is a medical aid, which is designed to classify stool into seven groups, to check the health of your stool. This kind of feces depends on their time of passing through the colon. So, what you see in the toilet bowl is the result of what you ate or drank, the medicines you took, or your lifestyle.

There are seven types of stools according to the Bristol scale:

- Types 1 to 2 indicates constipation
- Types 3 and 4 are ideal feces
- Types 5 to 7 may indicate diarrhea or an emergency

It is also possible to analyze the color of your stool to check the proper functioning of your intestines:

- Black: black stools suggest gastrointestinal bleeding. Iron supplements, black licorice, black stout, and bismuth medications can also cause these.
- White: white, gray or pale stools may point out a problem with the liver or gallbladder. Some anti-diarrhea medications could cause white stools.
- Green: spinach, kale or other green foods can cause these, but it can also indicate excess bile in the stool.
- Red: this can be the result of gastrointestinal bleeding or indicate hemorrhoids. Beets or red fruits can also give this color to the stool.
- Orange: consumption of many orange foods, rich beta-carotene, causes orange stools like carrots for example. It can also come from the blockage of bile ducts or certain medications. 
- Yellow: yellow or fatty stools suggest that the stools contain too much fat. This can be the result of absorption problems or difficulty producing certain enzymes or bile.

It is quite normal to experience variations in stool color as this is usually due to food. However, if the color change exceeds two weeks or your stools are red or black, you should see a doctor.

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