The best treatment for chronic diarrhea varies with the underlying cause, but the first step is often a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy to ensure that the colon doesn't have major problems, according to Everyday Health. If other health issues are ruled out, over-the-counter diarrhea medicines and bulking agents frequently work.
Because chronic diarrhea is a symptom of several underlying causes, the first step of medical treatment normally involves testing. During this testing, the doctor sometimes provides treatment for the diarrhea itself, reports Everyday Health.
After major problems have been ruled out, some of the simpler causes include diet, illnesses, infections, recent surgery or radiation, some medicines, and stress, notes Everyday Health. High-fiber foods often trigger diarrhea, so avoiding whole-grain cereals and breads, dairy products, and spicy or greasy foods is often helpful. Alcohol and caffeine are common diarrhea triggers, so avoiding them is wise as well.
Untreated bacterial infections, parasites, viruses or illnesses, such as ulcerative colitis or celiac disease, all potentially contribute to chronic diarrhea, states Everyday Health. Treating those causes often causes the chronic diarrhea to stop. Some medications, particularly those taken for diabetes and heart disease, have diarrhea as a side effect. Choosing an alternative is sometimes possible.