Many elderly folks suffer from the occasional battle with diarrhea without ever knowing what caused it. While it’s generally just an uncomfortable annoyance that only lasts a day or two, it can become a more serious situation when it ends up causing incontinence.

Severe or chronic diarrhea is cause for concern and is a situation that requires medical attention. It can be a symptom of colon cancer, diabetes, fecal blockage, infection or other serious medical problem. Loss of fluids can lead to potentially life threatening dehydration, so it’s something to pay close attention to. Get immediate medical attention for your elder should diarrhea be accompanied by stomach cramps or fever.

The 6 most common causes of diarrhea include:

1. Your elder eating too much dietetic candy or chewing too much dietetic gum.

2. Eating or drinking foods like apple and pear juice, or grapes, prunes, dates, figs and some nuts.

3. Drinking caffeinated products such as soda, coffee or tea. Some over the counter antacids containing magnesium as well as some over the counter headache remedies can also cause diarrhea as well.

4. Certain medications such as antibiotics. Some can cause an imbalance of the “good” bacteria in the intestines.

5. Drinking milk, eating ice cream or other dairy products. While this generally applies to those who are lactose intolerant, this isn’t always the case.

6. Certain medical conditions such as Chron’s disease, overactive thyroid or ulcerative colitis.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, diarrhea in elderly folks isn’t all that uncommon. When it runs more than a day or two, it’s time to consider contacting your elder’s doctor so they can investigate further. And remember, if there is pain or vomiting present with the diarrhea, be sure and get your elder immediate medical attention. Doing so may just save their life.