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Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Forum
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Avatar universal

Chronic Diarrhea

Hello, I am 29 years old and male. I have been suffering from chronic diarrhea for the past 7 months. I am currently seeing a gastroenteroligist for my problem. He is struggling to find out what is wrong with me.

My symptoms first started just a few days following taking malaria tablets, prior to going on vacation to Hondurus (Central America). While on vacation the diarrhea started badly, which followed eating some 'home made' soup (tripe).

Upon returning home I still had diarrhea, but it had subsided. Then a couple of weeks later I found myself going to the toilet up to 20 times a day. I have found that it is when I eat I need to rush to the toilet. I sometimes have cramps, although not often. I also only have wind occassionally. The stool has never contained blood. The stool also varies from liquid to semi-formed (in the morning). When semi formed it floats. The colour varies from light brown to almost white.

I have had the following tests:

Blood Tests
Stool Culture Tests
Fecal Fat Test
Hormone Test
Barium Meal X-ray
CT scan
Abdomen x-ray
Nuclear Isotope Scan
HIV Test
Pancreatic (Urine) Test
Other Urine Tests
Endoscopy
Flexible Sygmoidioscopy

All the tests are normal, apart from the fecal fat test which showed that I am not absorbing fat and producing a huge amount of stool. The doctor described this as gross steattorrhea.

I am otherwise healthy apart from the diarrhea. I have lost 30lbs in weight due to this. I am also suffering from depression due to the diarrhea. I have been off work for 5 months.

I am currently taking Codeine Phosphate and Cholestramine, which don't seem to do anything. I have previosly tried Loparamide, Lomitil and Colafac also (to no avail). I am now on Fluoxetine for depression.

I do not smoke and only occassionally drink alcohol. I have never had surgery and never had a serious medical condition. I have never suffered from diarrhea before. I have not changed my diet apart from cutting out dairy products (as advised by my doctor)

Please give me some help and advice!!

Regards

Rob.


25 Responses
Avatar universal
Chronic Diarrhea/White Stools

Sounds like a parasite problem (causing diarrhea) making the perfect environment for Candida growth (white stools).

Avatar universal
Just about the same thing is happening to me. My doctor told me he thinks I have anxiety disorder and tried to put me on Zoloft.  (I hope to be pregnant again soon and am assuming that would NOT be any good for the baby!!!)  He also told me to cut out dairy (I already know I am lactose intolerant.  Nothing good is happening, so I'm off to the doctor for a barium enema this week to find out if something else is wrong.  Very scary stuff, I can see where it would make a person depressed!  Let me know what you find out, our problems sound similar!
Avatar universal
Dear Rob...
My first suggestion would be to go back to the GI specialist.
and re-explain your symptoms of Diarrhea and Large amount of fat in stool.

Fat in stool means poor fat absorption.  The Pancreas is very important here.  Some people may get Pancreatic lipase  insufficiency (defciency of the enzyme that helps digest fats) (I have this.)  One option may be to have your doctor try you on a lipase supplement...to see if the problem improves.

People who go to foreign countries often come back with wierd parasites... (Like I did)
My Dr. did a CBC (blood test) that revealed elevated "eosinophils" I was told that this might be caused by parasites in the body or severe allergies.

repeat testing for Ova and Parasites and also testing for Giardia (another parasite) may also be considered.

Of course some people who just had their gall bladder removed may also have similar symptoms...

Or perhaps while you were gong to another country you took an antibiotic for diarrhea prevention...Consider getting a test for Clostridium deficile a bacteria that can infect the GI tract usually associated with excessive antibiotic use and sometimes with just one course of the same.  Treatment is simple, usually.
Avatar universal
have you ever been tested for intestinal worms
Avatar universal
have you ever been tested for intestinal worms
Avatar universal
Rob,

I am so sorry for your troubles.  Keep your chin up.  There is hope and answers out there.  Many would kill for your weight loss plan.:)  Just kidding, I know how serious and frustrating this can be.  I, too, suffer.  Finally, one doctor prescribed a blood allergy tests to test for food allergies.  I found out that I am severely allergic to yeast(found in most foods and all Alcohols), soy, eggs, milk, mushrooms, wax beans and most beans.  I have now been on a very restrictive rotation diet for the last thirty days...this was a new discovery.  As you can imagine, its a pain in the ....to try and elimanate all those foods.  But I have!  And I am so pleased.  I no longer have gas(a severe problem with me), headaches, stomach cramps, vomiting( I used to vomit immediately after almost every meal-embarrasing on dates!), naseau and jsut plain ole tiredness.  I do however, have diarehia problems still.  But last week, I had a colonoscopy done and it happens i have colitis.  So, my doctor thinks it was a combination.

I know it sounds silly that something you are eating can you make you feel this way and I was very skeptical but now I am believer.  I feel 200% better and in just one month...people have noticed a big difference.  I am 33 and believe me i ahve been sick with stomach disorders most of my life an dI fully believe now it was just allergies.

Oh the best part.  After a three month very restrictive but healthy diet most people can reintroduce there problem foods and they are fine!  We'll see.  Its fascinating and often overlooked by medical staff.  ANd at thsi point, its worth a shot.  The test is expensive around 560.00 dollars but most insrances cover it.

Anyway, best of luck!  If you'd liek any further information you are welcomed to email me at ***@****
Avatar universal
Rob,

I am so sorry for your troubles.  Keep your chin up.  There is hope and answers out there.  Many would kill for your weight loss plan.:)  Just kidding, I know how serious and frustrating this can be.  I, too, suffer.  Finally, one doctor prescribed a blood allergy tests to test for food allergies.  I found out that I am severely allergic to yeast(found in most foods and all Alcohols), soy, eggs, milk, mushrooms, wax beans and most beans.  I have now been on a very restrictive rotation diet for the last thirty days...this was a new discovery.  As you can imagine, its a pain in the ....to try and elimanate all those foods.  But I have!  And I am so pleased.  I no longer have gas(a severe problem with me), headaches, stomach cramps, vomiting( I used to vomit immediately after almost every meal-embarrasing on dates!), naseau and jsut plain ole tiredness.  I do however, have diarrhea problems still.  But last week, I had a colonoscopy done and it happens i have colitis.  So, my doctor thinks it was a combination.

I know it sounds silly that something you are eating can you make you feel this way and I was very skeptical but now I am believer.  I feel 200% better and in just one month...people have noticed a big difference.  I am 33 and believe me i ahve been sick with stomach disorders most of my life an dI fully believe now it was just allergies.

Oh the best part.  After a three month very restrictive but healthy diet most people can reintroduce there problem foods and they are fine!  We'll see.  Its fascinating and often overlooked by medical staff.  ANd at thsi point, its worth a shot.  The test is expensive around 560.00 dollars but most insrances cover it.

Anyway, best of luck!  If you'd liek any further information you are welcomed to email me at ***@****
Avatar universal
Hi, Rob, have you ever been tested for Clostridium Difficile ?  It is a bacteria that is found in foods and water, especially in Mexico.  I had this and still am battling the diarrea.  Good luck.  It takes certain antibiotics to treat this.  There are only two:  Metronozidole and Vancomycin.  Other antibiotics with this C. Diff can make it worse or even cause the bacteria itself.  Do some checking into this and tell your doctor to check for this bacteria.  I had this for four years and finally discovered this.  I think I got it from too many antibiotics ?  Don't really know, but do know from research you can get it from foods and water and other countries too.  Good Luck
Avatar universal
I was there.  I found a wonderful dr. who put me through every test under the sun.  Finally a colonoscopy was given and he determined that I had Crohn's disease.  I suffered from what you described above for 5 years.  The Dr. prescribed Prednisone 80mg at first and all symtoms disapeared immediately.  I was on the prednisone for over 1-1/2 years.  I just started taking  Asacol which I will probably be on for the rest of my life.  But it works.  I am 32 and lead a very normal life compared to what what happening, like you are going through.  Crohn's is one of the most difficult diseases for a dr. to diagnose.  Please mention this to you dr. hopefully they will be able to get you on the correct medications.
Avatar universal
Sounds like my case of Giardia.  it was a bugger to diagnose.  Three separate stool samples did not show it but a good Gastro doc saw them swimming in the small bowel area when he did the esophagealduodenoscopy.  He retrieved for a biopsy.  I was treated I think with Flagyl and these buggers finally left me.
Alleluia..
Avatar universal
I AM NOT TRYING TO SCARE YOU BUT YOU COULD HAVE GOT SOMETHING FROM YOUR VACATION.  BUT ON THE OTHER HAD IT COULD BE IBS, I AM 21 AND HAVE HAD IBS SINCE I WAS IN THE 3RD GRADE.  I WAS SICK ALL THE TIME I MISSED ALOT OF SCHOOL AND THE SAD THING IS I WOULD EAT ALL THE TIME AND NEVER GAIN A POUND I WAS IN THE 8TH GRADE AND WEIGHT BETWEEN 90 AND 100LBS IT WAS NOT UNTIL I HAD MY FIRST CHILD THAT I WAS ABLE TO EAT AND KEEP THE WEIGHT ON.  I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT HAVING TEST DONE AND THEY ALL COME BACK FINE.  I HAD 2 UPPER GI'S AND A LOWER GI AND COLONASCAPE.  THEY SAID I HAD IBS AND I HAVE TRIED SEVERAL MEDICATIONS THE ONLY ONE THAT WORKS IS LOTRENEX ASK YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT THAT AND TRY IT.  I HOPE EVERYTHING TURNS OUT OK.
Avatar universal
Rob,
IBS is certainly a possibility, but the correlation of your trip to Central America seems to be the key here. Unfortunately, most western doctors usually only do a standard stool analysis, looking for the common "culprits". I am 31 and for years have had sudden onset of severe stomach pains and diarrhea, but not to the severity that you are experiencing. I also engaged in a battery of tests which always came back negative. I finally came across an acupuncturist that specialized in gastrointestinal problems. She suggested that I get a complete stool analysis from Great Smokies Diagnostic Lab. They are extremeley reputable and thorough. My results included two "bad" bacterias at really high levels, klebsiella pneumoniae and citrobacter freundii, thus causing a severe leaky gut. Thus the explaination for my severe fatigue and gastrointestinal problems. I also lived in Mexico for 3 months about 5 years ago when my problem began. This test will also find any parasites or yeast that could be in your gastrointestianl tract and the severity of them. Parasites especially are nasty little buggers that are hard to detect without the right tests. I think that at this point you need to find a health care practioneer that is willing to give you a complete stool analysis from Great Smokies. They also have a web-site that is helpful and can possibly help you get in touch with somebody in your area that uses their tests. Be strong and remember that you know your body better than anybody else and that you are paying the doctors for a service. It is your right to be heard and demand every test out there if thats what it takes. I suffered with this for years because my symptoms were always invalidated. Good luck to you and I hope that you will find the cause very soon. My thoughts are with you.  
Avatar universal
Hi,

My son 2 years ago was the age of 1 and hospitalized for two months with very similar conditions.  With lots of patience they were able to give to diagnostics.
C-difficile, which is caused by to many antibiotics
Coeliaque disease.  This is a chronic situation of the intestins with malabsorption of fat and diaharea.  It is caused by gluten which is found in most of the food we eat.  The cure is to eliminate this from your diet.  You can most probably do this diet on your own and if this is what you have, it will take up to 2 weeks before you feel better.  This diet is to be taken seriously and is for life.  Gluten can be found in most wheats.

Good luck with your health
Avatar universal
My husband had the same thing.  It got so severe that he could not work for 6 months.  He finally was diagnosed (through our suggestion that he be tested) with Celiac Sprue or Ceoliac.  There is a mulitude of information on it at www.celiac.com.  It is an intolerance to gluten.  It causes the small intestine to be unable to absorb any nutrients and in turn you become malnourished.  Some of the symptoms are weight loss, diarrhea, floating stools (due to inability to absorb fat).  It is something that GI docs often fail to dignose despite the fact that it is common. It can have sudden onset like yours did.  You should check it out!  Good Luck.
P.S.  He now feels MUCH better.
Avatar universal
Rob , I was diagnosed for chrons' in 1995 , i had surgery in 1996 , my doctor says the chrons' is gone , but i have exactly the same symptoms you do . Plus I am always tired , i could sleep for a week straight and still be tired .. I asked my doctor about this , and he gave me a powder to drink with orange juice , but it made me gag , almost like drinking barium . I plan to go see another doctor or maybe even a specialist soon to find a solution , i know there has to be one , somewhere . You can e-mail me , or anyone can also at ***@****   Thanks , Richard
Avatar universal
Sounds like tropical sprue to me. Your doctor should put you on tetracycline for 6 months or so.
Avatar universal
Lyme Disease - Check out this site:  http://www.chronicneurotoxins.com/learnMore.cfm
Avatar universal
I have a question and the forum is not acepting anymore questions to be posted so I figured this was one way to do it. First off lets me start at he beginning my son was 3 weeks old and diagnosed with urinary reflux. This mean that when he eliminates his bladder his urine back up into his kidneys. Then we found out he had GI Reflux. This cause him to have apnea (stop breathing) bradycardia ( low heart rate and stopping) and techicardia ( fast heart rate). He was put on meds for all of this which caused major direah for him. It was to the point he had up to 30 BM's a day. Sense then he has had a large number of medications and all of them seem to cause direah. The thing is now the dr thinks he is lactose intollerant. he has had a large number of tests done so far including Thyroid test, liver function test, alergy tests, CBC lead test, and a few others that are starting to blur now..( toomany to remember them all) The dr now has to do a stomach biopsy on him to see if his stomach lining has the prober enzymes the break down the lactose that is in the milk. If he does then it is the protien in the nilk he is all ergic to if not then it IS lactose intollerance. The dr also said that he may have a bacteria in his bowel that is causing the direah on top on the lactose intollerance. The way to fix that is with a anitbiotic that stays in the stomach and bowel and does NOT go throug the blood stream. My question ( I know may of you think about time :) ) is what is the stomach biopsy like? What kind of pain is he going to be in when this is done? Mind yu he is 21 months old. And one more question if it is a bacteria in his bowel and he gets the meds to fix it.. how is he going to be able to have a regular BM when he has had direah all his life so far.. he has never had to push a reqular BM out and I dont think now that the muscles in his bowel will be strong enough to do so.. What do you thinkI should do to help that? Any comments or answers would be great. Thank you for your time and I hope that the issue of the bacteria in the bowel might help you out ROB.. ask your dr about that and see what he tells you. It could be the same for you as we..thank you again and good luck :)
Avatar universal
HELP... i am having diarreah for about 3 weeks now and constant...i mean constant rumbling and groaning on my left side of my abdomen.  This has been so loud it keeps me up at nite.  I am a VERY HEALTHY 33 yr old female and am on low fat / high fiber diet... please tell me how to stop this!
Avatar universal
Hi Well you may want to ask your dr about seeing a gi specialist. I could be something simple such a a virus or it could be something also rather simple like iritable bowel syndrom. You shoud try to eat banana and even more fiber to bring your stool back to normal. But get it checked out, any time there is pain it is somehting that should be checked. Hope it all turns out well for you. Let us know what the dr says :)
Avatar universal
I am a 28 year-old male. I have had a severe diarrhea problem for a couple of years.  My work is very stressful.  I also work with central american people.  my GI doctor has done just about ervery blood test known, and everthing comes back normal.  I have also had 2 colonscopes done since late 2000, once again everything came back normal.  Only small red areas and 2 polyps were found, polyps were removed and benign.  Doctor seems to think red areas could be a result of colonscope prep.  but basically thinks I have a "spastic colon".  I am currently taking lomitil, with no real help.  My doctor has also prescribed anti-depressants, like prozac and remeron 30 mg.  I am taking the remeron now because I had lost about 25 lbs.  Remeron has put weight back on, but diarrhea is still constant, and I know I can't keep taking it forever.  I read about duspatal 200mg. Anybody does it work with these similar complaints??  Any help or advice would greatly be appreciated.. sincerely, alda..
Avatar universal
I am a 28 year-old male. I have had a severe diarrhea problem for a couple of years.  My work is very stressful.  I also work with central american people.  my GI doctor has done just about ervery blood test known, and everthing comes back normal.  I have also had 2 colonscopes done since late 2000, once again everything came back normal.  Only small red areas and 2 polyps were found, polyps were removed and benign.  Doctor seems to think red areas could be a result of colonscope prep.  but basically thinks I have a "spastic colon".  I am currently taking lomitil, with no real help.  My doctor has also prescribed anti-depressants, like prozac and remeron 30 mg.  I am taking the remeron now because I had lost about 25 lbs.  Remeron has put weight back on, but diarrhea is still constant, and I know I can't keep taking it forever.  I read about duspatal 200mg. Anybody does it work with these similar complaints??  Any help or advice would greatly be appreciated.. sincerely, alda..
Avatar universal
I am a 28 year-old male. I have had a severe diarrhea problem for a couple of years.  My work is very stressful.  I also work with central american people.  my GI doctor has done just about ervery blood test known, and everthing comes back normal.  I have also had 2 colonscopes done since late 2000, once again everything came back normal.  Only small red areas and 2 polyps were found, polyps were removed and benign.  Doctor seems to think red areas could be a result of colonscope prep.  but basically thinks I have a "spastic colon".  I am currently taking lomitil, with no real help.  My doctor has also prescribed anti-depressants, like prozac and remeron 30 mg.  I am taking the remeron now because I had lost about 25 lbs.  Remeron has put weight back on, but diarrhea is still constant, and I know I can't keep taking it forever.  I read about duspatal 200mg. Anybody does it work with these similar complaints??  Any help or advice would greatly be appreciated.. sincerely, alda..
Avatar universal
I am a 28 year-old male. I have had a severe diarrhea problem for a couple of years.  My work is very stressful.  I also work with central american people.  my GI doctor has done just about ervery blood test known, and everthing comes back normal.  I have also had 2 colonscopes done since late 2000, once again everything came back normal.  Only small red areas and 2 polyps were found, polyps were removed and benign.  Doctor seems to think red areas could be a result of colonscope prep.  but basically thinks I have a "spastic colon".  I am currently taking lomitil, with no real help.  My doctor has also prescribed anti-depressants, like prozac and remeron 30 mg.  I am taking the remeron now because I had lost about 25 lbs.  Remeron has put weight back on, but diarrhea is still constant, and I know I can't keep taking it forever.  I read about duspatal 200mg. Anybody does it work with these similar complaints??  Any help or advice would greatly be appreciated.. sincerely, alda..
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