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Functional Diarrhea

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Updated February 16, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition:

Functional diarrhea is diagnosed when a person experiences chronic symptoms of diarrhea, but no specific cause can be found. In order to receive a diagnosis, symptoms of loose, watery and possibly urgent bowel movements must be present for at least three months and must occur at least three days a week. Functional diarrhea is differentiated from diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) by the absence of abdominal pain.

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