The possible causes of a stomach ache and diarrhea include a stomach virus, food poisoning, and anxiety. In addition, over indulging in rich food, consuming alcoholic beverages, and taking antibiotics can cause these symptoms. Although they are usually not serious, prolonged stomach ache and diarrhea can cause excessive fluid loss, leading to dehydration.
When dehydration occurs, people can experience weakness; dizziness; dry, sticky mucus membranes; and decreased urinary output, along with a decreased level of consciousness, fever, and headache. Fluids need to be replenished promptly or kidney damage can occur. Generally, fluids and electrolytes can be restored at home, but when dehydration is severe or vomiting and diarrhea persist, however, hospitalization may be required. This is especially true of young children and the elderly.
Remedies for restoring fluids and electrolytes include drinking water, sports drinks, and orange juice and eating bananas. When hospitalization is required, intravenous fluids and nutrients are generally started. Fortunately, diarrhea is usually temporary and can be resolved with over-the-counter and home remedies.
Common treatments for stomach ache and diarrhea include anti-diarrheal medications that contain bismuth, and medications that slow intestinal motility. Although these medications are quick acting and effective in treating diarrhea, they can sometimes cause constipation. It is important for patients to drink plenty of fluids when taking these medications to avoid becoming constipated. When abdominal cramps and diarrhea are related to a bacterial infection, antibiotics might be necessary. Although antibiotics can worsen the symptoms temporarily, they will get rid of the offending bacterial infection.
When a person has stomach cramps and diarrhea, he should rest his stomach for a day or so by eating only bland foods and drinks. Warm, decaffeinated tea and dry toast will help prevent dehydration and not further irritate the stomach. Although many people have no appetite or desire to eat when they have a stomach ache, it is important for them to try eating and drinking small portions throughout the day to prevent weakness. In addition, if symptoms are accompanied by vomiting and the inability to keep anything down, a medical professional should be notified so he or she can suggest an alternative treatment plan.
Many cases of abdominal cramps and diarrhea, however, do not have an obvious cause. These cases are generally short-lived, and resolve as quickly as they began. When symptoms persist or worsen, further medical evaluation may be necessary. A healthcare professional might recommend blood tests, stool specimens, and X-rays to determine the cause of the symptoms, which can sometimes be related to colitis, diverticulitis, parasitic infection, or a food allergy.