Diarrhea is an emission of soft or watery stools more frequent and abundant than usual (3 or more stools per 24-hour period). Diarrhea is called "acute" if it lasts less than 14 days, "persistent" if it lasts 2 to 3 weeks and "chronic" if it lasts more than 3 to 4 weeks.
In addition to gastroenteritis, many conditions ranging from irritable bowel syndrome to rare tumours such as VIPoma can be accompanied by diarrhea, which can be chronic. Symptoms other than diarrhea vary according to the situation: abdominal pain, altered general condition, very fatty or blood-containing stools, etc. Dehydration and malnutrition are possible complications of chronic diarrhea. Other complications depend on the cause of the diarrhea.
The differential diagnosis of chronic diarrhea is very complex given the varied nature of the possible causes (blood tests, imaging, microbiological stool analysis, etc.)
The treatment of chronic diarrhea is also very variable and depends on the pathology responsible (correction of dehydration and food deficiencies, abstention from lactose, gluten or any other irritant food or medication, correction of endocrine disorders, etc.) Some drugs can however help to reduce the diarrheal symptoms from various causes (loperamide, bismuth salts, anticholinergic agents, etc.)
Microbiological stool analysis by PCR to facilitate the diagnosis of gastrointestinal infections*.
- A single stool sample, compared to up to 4 samples with traditional techniques.
- Results available in 24 hours compared to 10 working days with traditional techniques.
- Eliminates trial and error and the cost of additional testing and travel.
- Avoids unnecessary antibiotic use.
- Costs reimbursed by most insurers.
*A doctor's prescription is required.