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What causes constipation and diarrhea? 20 possible conditions

See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.


Crohn’s Disease

Crohn's disease is a chronic bowel disease that causes severe inflammation of the digestive tract. It is associated with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and may affect your quality of life. Crohn's disease is characterized b...

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PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)

PMS symptoms start five to 11 days before menstruation and typically go away once menstruation begins. The cause of PMS is unknown.

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Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of types 1 and 2 diabetes due to uncontrolled high blood sugar levels that result in damage to the nerves. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), between 6...

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Colonic (Colorectal) Polyps

Colonic polyps are growths that appear on the surface of the large intestine. A person may have more than one polyp, and they may be flat or raised, benign or cancerous.

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Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a cancer that originates in the rectum or colon. Both of these organs are located at the lower portion of your digestive system. The colon is at the end of the large intestine and the rectum is a...

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Celiac Disease (Gluten Intolerance)

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder caused by an immune reaction to gluten. Symptoms vary but can include arthritis, fatigue, and abdominal symptoms.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition that affects the large intestine and causes many uncomfortable symptoms, such as bloating, gas, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and pain.

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Diverticula are bulging sacs that can appear in the lining of your large intestine. Diverticulitis occurs when these sacs get acutely infected or inflamed.

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Intestinal Obstruction

If your small or large intestine becomes blocked, fluid and digested food cannot move through. This can cause bloating, stomach cramps, and burping.

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Encopresis is also known as fecal soiling. It occurs when a child over the age of 4 years has a bowel movement and soils his or her pants. This behavior is often linked to constipation. Constipation occurs when stoo...

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This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix, which can be fatal if left untreated. The telltale sign is pain that usually starts as mild cramping, especially on the right side, and becomes more severe over time.

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Hirschsprung Disease

Hirschsprung disease is a blockage that occurs in the colon in about one of every 5,000 births. The cause is unknown, but tends to affect more boys and those with Down syndrome or another inherited condition.

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Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a recessive genetic disorder that affects cells that produce mucous, sweat, and digestive juices. It may cause severe problems in the lungs, pancreas, liver, and intestine

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Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy occurs when nerves malfunction because they're damaged or destroyed. You'll notice a tingling, numbness, or weakness, and possibly sweating, constipation, or diarrhea.

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Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma)

Scleroderma is an autoimmune disorder that is characterized by changes in the texture and appearance of the skin due to an increase in collagen. It can affect blood vessels and muscles, and a number of vital organs.

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Autism Overview

Autism is one of a group of neurodevelopmental disorders, which are characterized by impaired communication and social interaction, and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviors or interests.

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Poliomyelitis, or polio, is a highly contagious disease that is caused by a virus that attacks the body's nervous system. It is most likely to be contracted by children under five years old.

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Autonomic Neuropathy

Damage to the nerves that help your organs to function can cause a condition called autonomic neuropathy (AN) and is associated with other conditions.

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All About Autonomic Dysrelexia (or Hyperreflexia)

Autonomic dysreflexia (AD) is a condition in which your involuntary nervous system overreacts to stimuli. It's also known as autonomic hyperreflexia.

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Acute Appendicitis

Acute appendicitis is a painful inflammation of your appendix, a small sac connected to your large intestine. It is an urgent condition that must be addressed immediately. If you have appendicitis, your appendi...

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.