Non-infectious Diarrhea

What is Non-Infectious Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is an increase in the liquidity, frequency, and volume of bowel movements. Non-infectious diarrhea is a type of diarrhea that is not caused by an infectious agent, such as bacteria, virus, or parasite. Non-infectious diarrhea can be caused by an allergic reaction to a food, a food intolerance, or an inability of the body to absorb certain nutrients.

Causes of Non-Infectious Diarrhea

The most common causes of non-infectious diarrhea are:

  • Lactose intolerance
  • Gluten intolerance
  • Allergies to certain foods
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Certain medications, such as antibiotics and laxatives
  • Radiation therapy
  • Excess use of alcohol or coffee

Symptoms of Non-Infectious Diarrhea

The most common symptoms of non-infectious diarrhea are:

  • Watery stools
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloating and gas
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Treatment for Non-Infectious Diarrhea

The treatment for non-infectious diarrhea depends on the underlying cause. If a food allergy or intolerance is the cause, eliminating the offending food from the diet can be an effective treatment. In cases of inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome, medications, diet, and lifestyle changes may be recommended. Anti-diarrheal medications may be prescribed in severe cases. Probiotics, or supplements containing beneficial bacteria, may help to promote healthy gut bacteria and can be taken to help prevent diarrhea.