Noninfectious colitis

Diarrhea / dysentery

Topic Completed: 1 May 2013

Minor changes: 29 September 2020

Copyright: 2003-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: colitis dysentery

Hanni Gulwani, M.B.B.S.
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Cite this page: Gulwani H. Diarrhea / dysentery. website. Accessed October 16th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Normal intestines receive 9 liters of fluid per day (oral intake: 2 L, saliva: 1L, gastric juices: 2L, pancreatic juices: 2L, intestinal juices: 1L); most is reabsorbed in small intestine and colon
  • Infectious (viral damage to epithelium): enteric adenoviruses, Norwalk virus, rotavirus
  • Infectious (enterotoxin): Bacillus cereus, Clostridium perfringens, E. coli, Vibrio cholera
  • Neoplasm: tumor production of peptides, villous adenoma in distal colon
  • Excessive laxatives

Causes of specific types of diarrhea:
  • Osmotic diarrhea: gut luminal solutes create high stool osmolality, abates with fasting; caused by lactase deficiency, lactulose therapy, gut lavage, antacids, primary bile acid malabsorption
  • Exudative disease: purulent bloody stools, persist with fasting; caused by bacteria (Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter), Entamoeba histolytica, idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease, typhlitis (neutropenic colitis in immunosuppressed)
  • Malabsorption: bulky stools, abates with fasting; caused by defective intraluminal digestion, primary mucosal cell abnormalities, reduced small intestinal surface area, lymphatic obstruction, Giardia lamblia (PubMed Health - Malabsorption Syndromes, Wikipedia - Malabsorption)
  • Deranged motility: improper gut neuromuscular function; caused by surgical resection of gut (decreased transit time), irritable bowel syndrome (neural dysfunction), hyperthyroidism, diabetic neuropathy, carcinoid syndrome; small intestine diverticula (decreased motility), blind loop, bacterial overgrowth
Diagrams / tables

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Chronic diarrhea

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