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Everyone knows what it’s like to occasionally have diarrhea, but diarrhea that lasts beyond a week or persistently comes and goes may signal a more serious problem. Dr. Jeffrey Fenyves and Dr. Stephen Fry at Tri-Cities Gastroenterology have extensive experience determining the underlying cause of diarrhea and implementing customized treatment. Please don’t continue to suffer from unpredictable diarrhea: Call one of their offices in Kingsport, Johnson City, and Elizabethton, Tennessee, or book an appointment online.

Diarrhea Q & A

What causes diarrhea?

A variety of conditions can cause diarrhea, from viruses, bacteria, and parasites, to medications, food intolerance, fructose, and artificial sweeteners. When your diarrhea persists, it may indicate a significant health problem such as inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome.


What is celiac sprue?

Celiac sprue -- also called gluten intolerance and gluten-sensitive enteropathy -- is a condition in which your body can’t tolerate gluten. If you have celiac sprue, gluten causes an immune reaction that leads to inflammation in your small intestine.

Ongoing inflammation damages the intestinal wall and causes symptoms like chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating, and many body-wide problems. The only treatment for celiac sprue is complete avoidance of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.


What is inflammatory bowel disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to several disorders caused by chronic inflammation in your intestinal tract. The two most common types of IBD share similar symptoms: diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and anemia. 

Ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis develops in the large intestine, where inflammation is limited to the intestinal lining.

Crohn’s disease

Inflammation can occur anywhere along your gastrointestinal tract, but it’s usually present in the small intestine. Patches of inflammation penetrate deep into the walls of the small intestine.


What is irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition defined by its symptoms: Abdominal pain and cramping associated with a change in bowel movements. Your pain is often relieved when you go to the bathroom.

The three types of IBS are:

  • IBS with predominant constipation (IBS-C)

  • IBS with predominant diarrhea (IBS-D)

  • IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M)


How are IBS and IBD treated?

Treatment for IBS includes dietary changes and medications. Your doctor at Tri-Cities Gastroenterology chooses the best medication for your type of IBS.

Treatment for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis includes medications and surgery when necessary. Many medications are available to relieve pain and decrease inflammation. One class of medications, biologics, puts both conditions into remission. Biologics are often administered using intravenous infusion.

When medications don’t help, your doctor at Tri-Cities Gastroenterology may recommend surgery. Crohn’s surgery consists of resectioning to remove the damaged area. Removing your entire colon and rectum can cure ulcerative colitis.

Whether you have diarrhea, constipation, or persistent abdominal pain, call Tri-Cities Gastroenterology or use the online booking feature to get treatment that promotes your ongoing health.


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