What are the characteristics of noninflammatory and inflammatory diarrhea syndromes?
Noninflammatory diarrhea consists of a syndrome of watery, nonbloody, nonpurulent diarrhea, and often lacks prominent systemic signs and symptoms such as fever or myalgias. Specific etiologic factors often go undiagnosed and course is often self-limited. Inflammatory diarrhea consists of frequent, smaller volume, mucoid or bloody stools, often associated with tenesmus, fever, and more prominent or severe abdominal pain. On laboratory evaluation, inflammatory diarrhea exhibits positive fecal leukocytes and positive stool lactoferrin, and will almost always involve the colon (colitis) when there are large sheets of leukocytes present.