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Diarrhea, Malabsorption, and Small-Bowel Disorders 

Diarrhea, Malabsorption, and Small-Bowel Disorders
Chapter:
Diarrhea, Malabsorption, and Small-Bowel Disorders
Author(s):

Seth R. Sweetser

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190464868.003.0020
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date: 19 October 2019

Diarrhea is a symptom or a sign, not a disease. As a symptom, it can manifest as 1 or more of the following: a decrease in consistency, an increase in fluidity, or an increase in number or volume of stools. A stool frequency of 3 or more times daily is considered abnormal; however, most people consider increased fluidity of stool as the essential characteristic of diarrhea. As a sign, diarrhea is an increase in stool weight or volume of more than 200 g or 200 mL per 24 hours for a person eating a Western diet. Although stool weight is often used in the objective definition, diarrhea should not be strictly defined by stool weight because the amount of dietary fiber influences the water content of the stool.

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