The feeling of abdominal pain and diarrhea is one that most of us can identify with. It’s unfortunately quite common and might send you running for a bathroom at inopportune times or even leave you feeling like you can’t stray far from home.

What Causes Stomach Pain And Diarrhea?

There are two different categories for this type of discomfort. One reason people may suffer from these symptoms is due to something chronic, while other reasons for coming down with what most people call as a stomach bug can include environmental and diet-related causes.

Chronic Issues

If you find yourself suffering from diarrhea and stomach cramping frequently, and it is accompanied by bloating or gas, you may be suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

IBD is an umbrella term for both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both of these conditions result in chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, either along the large intestine and rectum or along the digestive tract. They present with symptoms including diarrhea, fever and fatigue, cramping, reduced appetite, bloody stools, and unintended weight loss. Both conditions can bring about a number of long term health problems and should be addressed with your doctor. Although there is no cure for IBD, there are methods that control symptoms and even put you in remission.

IBS presents with similar symptoms but is known as a functional disorder, in contrast to IBD. IBS does not cause ulcers or damage to the digestive tract, rather the digestive system appears to be normal, yet doesn’t function as it should.  

Other Causes of Diarrhea And Stomach Cramping

There are many other causes of temporary stomach bugs that can lead to stomach discomfort and diarrhea. You may be affected with gastroenteritis, a term that includes bacterial or viral infections that can often stem from contaminated food or water. If this is the case, the issue tends to resolve itself within a few days and can be helped by resting, drinking a lot of fluids, and utilizing over the counter medications. Food doesn’t have to be contaminated in order to result in this sort of negative reaction. Sometimes your body reacts poorly to foods you’re not used to eating, such as those that are rich or high in fat. 

You may also see your body reacting negatively if you’ve suddenly changed your diet or if you have a specific food or gluten sensitivity. Lastly, it’s not just what you’re eating, it’s also important to monitor how you’re eating. For those who overeat or eat too quickly, indigestion could be an issue that leads to temporary stomach troubles. Be mindful of what and how you’re eating, taking time to eat slowly and learn your body’s cues to determine when you’re full and should stop eating.

When Should I See My Doctor?

If you have been suffering from stomach pains or diarrhea, you should evaluate your symptoms and the duration of the issue prior to going to the doctor. If you experience it in passing, or for a day or two, you should be fine with home remedies, extra rest, and fluids. If you notice that it becomes a chronic issue and it’s causing you more than just a little pain in the bathroom, make an appointment with one of our doctors at Cary Gastroenterology Associates to be evaluated for something potentially more serious or long term.