The incidence of acute and chronic diarrhea in hospitalized adults ranges widely. This variation has been attributed to subjective definitions of diarrhea and to use of imprecise measurement methods. The differential diagnosis of diarrhea is broad, ranging from acute infectious causes to those of longer chronicity involving pathophysiologic mechanisms, The clinical significance of this problem varies from patient discomfort to life-threatening disorders related to the loss of nutrients, severe dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances

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