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diarrhoea in adults

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The following causes of diarrhoea should be considered include:

  • infective, e.g.:
    • Campylobacter food poisoning
    • Salmonella gastroenteritis
    • HIV-associated diarrhoea
    • dysentery, either bacterial or amoebic
    • cholera
  • inflammatory, e.g.:
    • ulcerative colitis
    • Crohn's disease
    • diverticular disease
  • loss of absorptive area, e.g.:
    • coeliac disease
    • resection of the small bowel or blind-loop syndrome
    • tropical sprue
  • pancreatic disease:
    • chronic pancreatitis
    • carcinoma of the head of the pancreas
  • drug reactions, e.g.:
    • antibiotics
    • purgatives
    • magnesium-containing indigestion medication
    • digoxin
  • colon cancer
  • post-gastrectomy
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • systemic disease, e.g.:
    • thyrotoxicosis
    • uraemia
    • carcinoid syndrome


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