About 8 out of 10 people being treated for Carcinoid Syndrome experience chronic diarrhea. In fact, it’s one of the main signs you may have Carcinoid Syndrome.
When you have Carcinoid Syndrome, your body has tumors called NETs that produce large amounts of a hormone called serotonin. The excessive amount of serotonin increases the level of fluid in the gut. It also increases the function of your gut up to 6 times its normal speed. This can cause diarrhea anywhere from 1 to around 30 times per day, and be accompanied by pain or cramps as well.
Diarrhea can occur anytime, so it can interrupt sleep and other activities. A lack of sleep can lead to fatigue and depression. People with Carcinoid Syndrome and severe diarrhea may also experience pain.
There are 4 types or grades of Carcinoid Syndrome diarrhea that healthcare professionals use to describe symptoms. However, these grades only focus on the number of bowel movements per day. That's why it is important to talk to your doctor about the effect diarrhea has on your daily living.
Mild diarrhea, or Grade 1: 2 to 3 stools above normal per day
Mild to moderate, or Grade 2: 4 to 6 stools above normal per day
Moderate severe to severe, or Grade 3: 7 to 9 stools above normal, with possible severe cramps and incontinence
Severe, or Grade 4: 10 or more stools above normal; possibly bloody diarrhea
Watch a video of Dr. David Metz explaining the causes of Carcinoid Syndrome diarrhea and ways to better manage the condition.
Diarrhea is an indication of Carcinoid Syndrome, but it could also be caused by something else. Whatever is causing your symptoms, you should know there are treatment options. While it may feel embarrassing to discuss the topic of diarrhea, your doctor will be happy to help.
There are a number of treatment options for Carcinoid Syndrome diarrhea. Please visit the Carcinoid Syndrome Treatment section, and discuss treatment options with your doctor.