Dr. Sing Chan is a Board Certified gastroenterologist who specializes in the diagnosis of many health conditions related to digestion, including constipation and diarrhea. The doctor and his staff serve the residents of Flushing, New York, and many nearby neighborhoods.

Diarrhea Q & A

What Causes Diarrhea?

Diarrhea can be caused by both viral and bacterial infections. Chronic conditions that affect the digestive tract can also lead to diarrhea. A few of these conditions include colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac sprue, and Crohn’s disease. Many medications can also disrupt a person’s bowel movements. While some cause constipation, others can cause severe diarrhea. Antibiotics can have a dramatic effect on the delicate balance in the intestines. Antibiotics are designed to kill the bacteria that cause bacterial infections. When they are taken internally, however, they will kill whatever bacteria they come in contact with, including the bacteria found in the intestines. This can result in diarrhea that may last several days after the medication stops.

How Does Fiber Affect the Digestive System?

There are two kinds of fiber found in the diet. Soluble fiber has the capability of absorbing water while passing through the digestive tract. This type of fiber can be used effectively to firm up the stools, preventing watery diarrhea. Non-soluble fiber works like a broom as it moves through the digestive tract. This type of fiber does not absorb water and is not affected by the digestive enzymes. It will pass through the digestive tract without breaking down. As it moves through, it brushes away sludge and debris to prevent it from building up within the colon and creating blockages. Both types of fiber are necessary to maintain good digestive health.

What is the Best way to Treat Diarrhea?

There are several anti-diarrhea remedies that are extremely effective at controlling bouts of diarrhea. It is important to stay hydrated by drinking small amounts of water frequently. Doctors often recommend avoiding foods that are known to cause stomach upsets and to include foods that help to re-establish the delicate balance in the intestines. Yogurts and probiotic foods contain much-needed enzymes that can re-establish the levels of bacteria that are needed to firm up the stools and restore regular bowel movements. If diarrhea persists, doctors may have to perform tests to find out if a chronic condition like Crohn’s disease or IBS may be causing the problem.