Curbside Consultation of the Colon: 49 Clinical Questions

Brooks D. Cash, MD, FACP, CDR, MC, USN

Question 28: For Patients Who Report Persistent Diarrhea, What Is Considered Chronic, When Do I Need To Begin A Workup, And What Does That Workup Involve? (continued)

Richard Saad, MD

Diarrhea may be defined as a decrease in stool consistency (increased liquidity) or increase in stool frequency. Historically, it has been objectively defined as more than 3 daily bowel movements or the production of more than 200 g of stool in a 24-hour time period. Regardless of the criteria used, diarrhea is exceedingly common. The overwhelming majority of cases consist of acute diarrhea. They are typically self-limited, resolving over a period of several days and rarely requiring more than supportive care. However, the scenario changes significantly with chronic diarrhea due to the…