Items in AFP with MESH term: Diarrhea
Evaluation of Chronic Diarrhea - Article
ABSTRACT: Chronic diarrhea, defined as a decrease in stool consistency for more than four weeks, is a common but challenging clinical scenario. It can be divided into three basic categories: watery, fatty (malabsorption), and inflammatory. Watery diarrhea may be subdivided into osmotic, secretory, and functional types. Watery diarrhea includes irritable bowel syndrome, which is the most common cause of functional diarrhea. Another example of watery diarrhea is microscopic colitis, which is a secretory diarrhea affecting older persons. Laxative-induced diarrhea is often osmotic. Malabsorptive diarrhea is characterized by excess gas, steatorrhea, or weight loss; giardiasis is a classic infectious example. Celiac disease (gluten-sensitive enteropathy) is also malabsorptive, and typically results in weight loss and iron deficiency anemia. Inflammatory diarrhea, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn disease, is characterized by blood and pus in the stool and an elevated fecal calprotectin level. Invasive bacteria and parasites also produce inflammation. Infections caused by Clostridium difficile subsequent to antibiotic use have become increasingly common and virulent. Not all chronic diarrhea is strictly watery, malabsorptive, or inflammatory, because some categories overlap. Still, the most practical diagnostic approach is to attempt to categorize the diarrhea by type before testing and treating. This narrows the list of diagnostic possibilities and reduces unnecessary testing. Empiric therapy is justified when a specific diagnosis is strongly suspected and follow-up is available.
ABSTRACT: Proton pump inhibitors effectively treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, erosive esophagitis, duodenal ulcers, and pathologic hypersecretory conditions. Proton pump inhibitors cause few adverse effects with short-term use; however, long-term use has been scrutinized for appropriateness, drug-drug interactions, and the potential for adverse effects (e.g., hip fractures, cardiac events, iron deficiency, Clostridium difficile infection, pneumonia). Adults 65 years and older are more vulnerable to these adverse effects because of the higher prevalence of chronic diseases in this population. Proton pump inhibitors administered for stress ulcer prophylaxis should be discontinued after the patient is discharged from the intensive care unit unless other indications exist.
Acute Diarrhea in Adults - Article
ABSTRACT: Acute diarrhea in adults is a common problem encountered by family physicians. The most common etiology is viral gastroenteritis, a self-limited disease. Increases in travel, comorbidities, and foodborne illness lead to more bacteria-related cases of acute diarrhea. A history and physical examination evaluating for risk factors and signs of inflammatory diarrhea and/or severe dehydration can direct any needed testing and treatment. Most patients do not require laboratory workup, and routine stool cultures are not recommended. Treatment focuses on preventing and treating dehydration. Diagnostic investigation should be reserved for patients with severe dehydration or illness, persistent fever, bloody stool, or immunosuppression, and for cases of suspected nosocomial infection or outbreak. Oral rehydration therapy with early refeeding is the preferred treatment for dehydration. Antimotility agents should be avoided in patients with bloody diarrhea, but loperamide/simethicone may improve symptoms in patients with watery diarrhea. Probiotic use may shorten the duration of illness. When used appropriately, antibiotics are effective in the treatment of shigellosis, campylobacteriosis, Clostridium difficile, traveler’s diarrhea, and protozoal infections. Prevention of acute diarrhea is promoted through adequate hand washing, safe food preparation, access to clean water, and vaccinations.