Etiology of chronic diarrhea

Altuntaş B., Gül H., Yarali N., Ertan U.

Indian Journal of Pediatrics, vol.66, no.5, pp.657-661, 1999 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 66 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 1999
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/bf02726245
  • Journal Name: Indian Journal of Pediatrics
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.657-661
  • Keywords: Celiac disease, Chronic diarrhea, Malnutrition


With worldwide use of oral rehydration solutions, the treatment of acute diarrhea does not pose much of a problem. However, chronic diarrhea is still harmful, especially for the growth and development status of the children. Between January 1993 to December 1996, patients who suffered from chronic diarrhea for more than one month duration and admitted to Dr. Sami Ulus Children's Hospital were evaluated for epidemiological and etiologic factors. Seventy consecutive patients were evaluated. The mean age was 40.8 months and 52% were males. Malnutrition was detected in 30% of cases. Etiologic factors included celiac disease 30%, cow milk allergy 17%, bacterial and parasitic factors 26%, cystic fibrosis 10% and postinfectious gastroenteritis 10%. Eosinophilic gastroenteritis, chronic nonspecific diarrhea, pseudo-obstruction, neurofibromatosis and inflammatory bowel disease were rarely detected. Celiac disease and cow milk allergy were implicated as the most common causes of chronic diarrhea. The vicious cycle of faulty nutrition, malnutrition and infection and postinfectious enteropathy were also significant factors in the etiology of chronic diarrhea. It may be considered that cow milk protein prick test, sweat test, immunologic tests and mucosal biopsies should be performed for the definite diagnosis of chronic diarrhea. (Indian J Pediatr 1999; 66 : 657-661).