Diarrhea and Abdominal Pain: Causes and Treatments
Diarrhea and abdominal pain are extremely common symptoms that can affect anyone. In fact, many people will experience diarrhea at least once or twice a year. Diarrhea is another term for loose, watery bowel movements that are often accompanied by stomach pain.
The stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis can be caused by a variety of viruses and is highly contagious. Along with diarrhea and abdominal pain, symptoms of gastroenteritis usually include:
- Headache, muscle ache, and joint aches
- Fever and chills
- Loss of appetite
Viral gastroenteritis usually resolves itself within a few days, but you should take special care to stay hydrated while you are experiencing symptoms.
Food poisoning or bacterial gastroenteritis is an infection caused by bacteria in your stomach. Food poisoning is commonly caused by bacteria found in food that hasn’t been prepared properly, such as salmonella and E. coli. Along with diarrhea and abdominal pain, people with food poisoning may experience:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in your stools
Most people recover from food poisoning within a week, but more serious cases could require a visit to the hospital.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common syndrome characterized by multiple symptoms experienced together. Common symptoms of IBS include:
- Abdominal pain
- Cramping and bloating
There is no cure for IBS, but there are things you can do to relieve your symptoms, such as exercise, minimizing stress, and avoiding fried and spicy foods.
When to Seek Medical Treatment
While diarrhea and abdominal pain typically go away in a few days to a week, some cases can be serious and should be treated immediately. If you have prolonged diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, or a fever that lasts more than 24 hours, visit your local FastMed Urgent Care immediately.
When you visit FastMed, our caring medical professionals will work hard to determine the cause of your symptoms and provide you with the proper treatment options. We provide treatment for non life-threatening illnesses and injuries 7 days a week, making it easy for you to receive treatment no matter when your symptoms strike.