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There is no strict definition of diarrhea because the frequency of bowel movements varies from person to person.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines diarrhea as the passage of three or more loose or liquid stools per day (or more frequent passage than is normal for the individual).

A large number of individuals have the wrong perception regarding "diarrhea". Frequently passing formed stools is NOT diarrhea, nor is the passing of loose, "pasty" stools by breastfed babies diarrhea. There are lots of conditions that cause constant diarrhea but listed below are the most common disorders.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a disorder of the digestive tract characterized by frequent bowel movements. These episodes of diarrhea are alternated by constipation frequently. There is no specific cause of this gastrointestinal disorder, however, stress and anxiety are known make the symptoms worse. Diarrhea alternating constipation in young patients is the hallmark feature of IBS. Some other symptoms of IBS include:

  • Generalized abdominal pain -- usually after bowel movements
  • Episodes of abdominal cramps
  • Flatulence
  • Bloating and abdominal swelling

Some patients also experience lethargy, low mood, nausea, low back pain, bladder problems.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose is a type of natural sugar that is found in milk and dairy products. A condition where body is unable to process and digest lactose is called lactose intolerance. Do not confuse "lactose intolerance" with a "milk allergy"; these are two different conditions. Patients suffering from lactose intolerance usually experience:

  • Diarrhea or unformed stools (loose stools)
  • Abdominal pain/cramps
  • Excessive gas (flatulence)
  • Bloating
  • Loud bowel sounds

The symptoms usually occur right after the ingestion of pure milk or any dairy product. The severity of the symptoms depends on the quantity of the dairy product you ingest.

Celiac Disease

This is a disorder of the small intestine caused by hypersensitivity to gluten -- a type of protein that is found in wheat rye, wheat grains, wheat flour, wheat starch, rye, barley malt, corn, and some other foods. The small intestine triggers an abnormal immune response with the intake of foods that contain gluten.

The symptoms caused by celiac disease vary from person to person; Diarrhea, however, is seen in more than 90 percent of cases. Besides diarrhea, patients may also experience, fatigue, weakness, unexpected weight loss, bloating, flatulence, and changes in bowel habits.

Liver Diseases

The liver is an essential part of the human body. Located in the abdomen, the liver helps in the process of digestion by releasing a hormone called "bile". This hormone breaks down fats in the food and carries away the waste.

There are several liver diseases that cause the liver to function abnormally resulting in the improper digestion of the food. This causes diarrhea and other abdominal symptoms like upper abdominal pain, abdominal fullness, and a decreased appetite.

It is not easy to find what exactly is causing constant diarrhea in a patient. It is recommended that you see your doctor in such cases because diarrhea causes dehydration which can be fatal. Long-standing diarrhea is always pathological; or in other words, there is always a reason why a person is having constant diarrhea. This is the reason it is a wise to decision to see a doctor rather than trying over-the-counter medicines.

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