What is Brainerd Diarrhea & How is it Treated?

What Is Brainerd Diarrhea?

Brainerd Diarrhea is a relatively self limiting pathological condition which is characterized by explosive watery diarrhea, which may exceed up to 20 times a day and tends to last for more than a month or more. It tends to occur sporadically, but there have been many cases of an outbreak of it in various counties across United States. Individuals with Brainerd Diarrhea also tend to have bowel urgency often with fecal incontinence.

Some of the other features of Brainerd Diarrhea are gas, mild abdominal cramping, and lethargy. It is extremely rare for an individual to have systemic signs of illness like fever, nausea or vomiting apart from some slight weight loss in cases of Brainerd Diarrhea.

What Is Brainerd Diarrhea?

What Causes Brainerd Diarrhea?

When the first outbreak of Brainerd Diarrhea occurred it was believed to have been caused by drinking raw or unpasteurized milk. Additionally, contaminated well water has also been implicated in some other outbreaks of it in other counties in the United States.

Brainerd Diarrhea is not a contagious disease and does not spread from individual to individual by any means of contact. Other than this, despite exhaustive research to look for a bacterial, viral, or fungal pathogen as a cause of it, they have not been successful.

Some studies suggest a chemical toxin to be the causative agent but a specific toxin has still not been found that has the potential to cause Brainerd Diarrhea.

How Is Brainerd Diarrhea Diagnosed?

As the exact causative agent for the development of Brainerd Diarrhea is not yet known hence there is no specific test to confirmatively diagnose Brainerd Diarrhea.

This condition is suspected in an individual who present with a history of over four weeks of explosive blood diarrhea with lethargy and fecal incontinence who has a history of being exposed to well water or unpasteurized milk in the recent past.

A laboratory test done on such individuals will result in a negative stool culture. It is important here to note that physician tend to rule out other conditions causing the same symptoms whether it is infectious or noninfectious causes.

Once all other conditions have been ruled out and the laboratory tests and other investigations are negative then based on the individual’s history of exposure to well water and unpasteurized milk, a diagnosis can be made of it.

How Is Brainerd Diarrhea Treated?

As of now, there is no definitive treatment for Brainerd Diarrhea. Numerous antimicrobic agents like ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, and ampicillin have been tried with little success in patients with Brainerd Diarrhea.

Anti-inflammatory agents have also been proved to be unsuccessful in providing any sort of relief from it. Some people have reported some relief with medications like loperamide although such cases have been few and far between.

Brainerd Diarrhea is a condition which goes way on its own but it takes an individual more than a year to completely normalize. During this one year the patient may have waxing and waning symptoms.

It takes up to a maximum of three years for an individual to completely get rid of Brainerd Diarrhea. There have been no cases of an individual relapsing and getting the symptoms again, once they have completely resolved of Brainerd Diarrhea.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 14, 2018

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