This chart on diarrhoea on A4Medicine covers acute and chronic diarrhoea.. The definition of diarrhoea can help the GP to get a more specific answer from the patient and differentiate from other frequently used terms as frequency, urgency, incontinence and faecal impaction ( overflow diarrhoea ). The pathophysiology is discussed to explain the possible causes as osmotic, secretory, inflammatory and abnormal gut motility- it may be noted that more than one mechanism may be responsible. Acute presentation ( less than four weeks ) and particularly travelers diarrhea – most acute causes are infectious in nature. The GP should consider seeking advice from the Public Health in case the patient happens to be a food handler, health care worker or there is an outbreak in a nursing / residential home.
Chronic diarrhoea is addressed with emphasis on possible causes and referral criteria. Indications for an urgent suspected cancer are also displayed clearly for quick reference.