For some, the onset of stomach issues can be sudden and quick. You feel a pain in your stomach, need to rush to the restroom, you might have a one-time case of diarrhea, and then you can get back to your normal routine. For others, dealing with stomach pains and diarrhea may very well be a days-long issue, or worse, for those dealing with chronic stomach issues, a life-long struggle to maintain proper digestive health.
What Causes Diarrhea?
Diarrhea is a term that is associated with loose stools and urgent and more frequent bowel movements. Typically, diarrhea isn’t cause for much alarm as it can come from many different sources. So if you have a typically healthy digestive system and come down with a case of isolated diarrhea every now and then, you should be ok to treat it at home as it’s often not a serious issue. When it does become a problem in adults is when it persists for more than a couple days, it is accompanied by severe stomach or rectal pain, there is blood in your stool, you become dehydrated, or if you’re also running a high fever. For kids, you should seek medical attention if it lasts more than 24 hours, your child becomes dehydrated, or there is blood in their stool.
Why Would I Have Diarrhea And Stomach Pains?
Diarrhea and stomach pains can come from many sources, including a condition known as gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis has multiple potential causes including contaminated food, viruses, bacteria, or parasites. Some of the more common causes of gastroenteritis include the Norwalk virus, rotavirus, or contaminates like salmonella. If these aren’t the causes, you may also find that the cause of your stomach problems lies in what, how much, and when you’re eating. If you react poorly to certain foods, keep track of what you’re eating and avoid those trigger foods. Also, aim to eat smaller meals earlier in the evening as large meals just prior to bedtime can be triggering for some.
What If My Pains Are More Frequent Or More Severe?
If you find that your stomach pains are becoming more serious or occurring more frequently, it might be time to visit Associates in Digestive Health. While diarrhea and stomach pains may be minor and simple for some, other people could be dealing with underlying and chronic conditions. Two of the more common ones we see are IBD and IBS.
IBD, or inflammatory bowel disease, refers to two different conditions, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD is more than just stomach troubles, it’s actually noted physical damage to the digestive tract. Both Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis present with symptoms including frequent diarrhea, fever and fatigue, cramping, reduced appetite, bloody stools, and unintended weight loss. These things occur as a result of the damage to the GI tract, where certain foods cannot be processed properly in your digestive system. Although it can’t be treated or reversed, we can help you manage the symptoms through diet and lifestyle changes.
Another common digestive issue that presents in the same manner as IBD is irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. Even though many of their symptoms overlap, the underlying cause is different. IBD comes as a result of internal physical damage, while IBS is what’s known as a functional disorder. This means that there is something amiss in your system, but physical causes cannot be seen.
How Should I Manage These Issues?
If you suffer from short term digestive issues that include stomach pains and diarrhea, you’re usually ok to manage them at home through rest, proper diet, and lots of fluids. If it doesn’t pass quickly, you can visit our team to help find a cause. If you do suspect something chronic, like IBD or IBS, you should make an appointment to visit our team for a diagnosis and potential treatment.