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What are the Most Common Causes of Diarrhea and Fatigue?

Diarrhea and fatigue often stem from infections, stress, dietary issues, or chronic conditions like IBS. Dehydration from diarrhea exacerbates fatigue, creating a draining cycle. Understanding the triggers, from food intolerances to viral infections, is crucial for effective management. Have you considered how your lifestyle may influence these symptoms? Discover more about the interplay between diet, health, and well-being.
Troy Holmes
Troy Holmes

Many individuals suffer from flu-like symptoms that lead to dehydration, fatigue, and stomach ailments. A person who experiences both diarrhea and fatigue is typically suffering from food poisoning or the stomach flu, although it can also be caused by a number of other digestive ailments. Because of the loss of liquid that diarrhea causes within the system, it can quickly lead to dehydration, which causes extreme fatigue.

There are many potential causes of stomach ailments. Most issues pass within a few days, but long-term symptoms are a sign of more serious problem. Food poisoning will cause an individual to become violently ill, often experiencing severe vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea. Most cases will only last until the contaminated food has passed through the body.

Yogurt with live cultures can rebuild intestinal flora after diarrhea.
Yogurt with live cultures can rebuild intestinal flora after diarrhea.

E-coli bacteria are often found in uncooked meats and food prepared by someone who has not washed his hands thoroughly. These bacteria can enter the body and lodge within the intestines. Once an individual contracts this infection, he will typically need a few days to recover. During this time, he should be cautious to include additional fluids to replace those that will be lost through diarrhea.

Salmonella, a common cause of food poisoning, can cause diarrhea and fatigue.
Salmonella, a common cause of food poisoning, can cause diarrhea and fatigue.

Salmonella is a bacteria that is can be transferred through eating raw fish, contaminated raw vegetables, or undercooked meat and poultry. It can cause serious stomach ailments including vomiting and diarrhea. To prevent contamination, cooks should always make sure that all raw foods are cleaned thoroughly, and that meats are cooked completely.

The symptoms of colon cancer typically include rectal bleeding, diarrhea, and fatigue. This cancer is most often found in older individuals, especially men. If an individual has these symptoms for several days, he should seek immediate medical advice. Detecting this cancer earlier increases the chance for full recovery and survival. Cancer is a progressive disease that can be more easily treated in its earlier stages.

Food poisoning can cause cramps, diarrhea, and fatigue.
Food poisoning can cause cramps, diarrhea, and fatigue.

Crohn's disease is a serious inflammation in the digestive track, and can cause diarrhea and fatigue, among other symptoms. An individual who suffers from this condition has an overactive immune system known as autoimmune disorder. This condition tends to flare up, causing cramps and discomfort.

Ulcerative colitis causes ulcers that form in the lower intestines, and may cause diarrhea. Most individuals who suffer from this disease are under 30 years of age. Treatment includes steroids and special anti-inflammatory drugs.

Dehydration can cause extreme fatigue.
Dehydration can cause extreme fatigue.

Many people are sensitive to the sugars in milk and other dairy products, a condition often termed lactose intolerance. A person who is lactose intolerant cannot drink milk without having serious diarrhea, bloating, and fatigue. In most cases, substituting products made from soy or other non-dairy ingredients can relieve this problem. These substitutes do not have the negative side effects.

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Discussion Comments


I've been suffering from diarrhea and loose bowel movements for over a month now. I've already gone to the hospital but they said they couldn't find anything. However, I go to the comfort room at least three or maybe four times in a day. My stool is liquid and I've been feeling dizzy. This is the reason why I came across the article because I've been looking for answers regarding my condition. I am hoping someone can help me.

I tried yogurt and some drinks with lactobacillus. It seems to lessen the number of times that I have to go, but the liquid form of my stool is still the same. I've been doing my best in hydrating myself using energy drinks like Gatorade, etc. I desperately need some advice.


My mother was always hardcore about keeping her kitchen surfaces disinfected after preparing any kind of meat, especially chicken. I always thought it was strange that she would wipe bleach on the counters then wash it off with soap and water.

After getting a nasty case of food poisoning at a friend's house I can see why my mother was a neat as she was. I guess if you leave chicken on the counter and don't clean up properly it is pretty easy to get E-coli into your system.

Let me tell you, I was so sick after eating that chicken at my friend's house. The diarrhea was terrible and I couldn't kick the fatigue for days.

I now find myself using my mom's techniques to keep my own kitchen germ free and no food poisoning yet.


For those of you that like to travel it is pretty common to get sick when you go abroad and start eating new foods and drinking local water. I have found that I am pretty much guaranteed to suffer from diarrhea and fatigue at some point during an extended trip.

One of the things that helps me is to always carry some medication that can take care of the diarrhea. While it usually works by itself, I find switching to preparing my own food usually helps as well. Sometimes I think that new locations are such a shock to our system that our body has a lot of trouble adjusting.


I remember getting the stomach flu back in 8th grade. It was the worst! I became so weak and tired that all I could do was lay there in bed and feel awful in between trips to the bathroom.

When I first got it, I vomited about once an hour for the first six hours. I could keep water down, but that was about it. It’s a good thing that water did not come back up, because I needed it to replace the water I was losing through diarrhea, which I had about every 30 minutes the first day.

Since fruit juice can actually cause diarrhea, I only drank water. I really didn’t feel like drinking anything, but I knew I had to so that I could stay hydrated.

About three hours into that first day, I needed help getting to the bathroom, because I had become so fatigued that it was hard for me to walk. During the second day, I stopped vomiting and the diarrhea lessened, though it continued awhile longer. I was still extremely tired from the ordeal, and I had to rest for another day after that before I could function at all.


I dated a guy with Crohn’s disease, and it made his life miserable. We often had to cancel plans because of his symptoms.

With his disease, cells in his intestine were inflamed and secreted lots of salt and water. Since the colon could not absorb it all, it turned into diarrhea. So, he could develop it suddenly with no warning signs.

Because his intestines were inflamed and lined with ulcers, parts of them swelled and thickened. His intestinal contents could not move through them without causing him painful cramps. Sometimes, the cramps were so bad that he became very nauseated.

His frequent diarrhea wore him out. He felt so fatigued during flare-ups that he could barely get out of bed.


I can tell you personally that rotavirus causes extreme diarrhea and fatigue. If left untreated, a child with this virus can die from dehydration rather quickly.

I got rotavirus when I was nine. I was throwing up and having diarrhea at the same time, so often that both quickly ran out of solid material and became pure liquid. I started throwing up bile, because that is all I had left, and my diarrhea was brown water.

My parents were scared, because I had to go to the bathroom every few minutes. They knew that I would soon deplete my system of fluids, so they took me to the emergency room in the middle of the night.

At the hospital, they gave me fluids through an IV. They gave me a shot to stop the vomiting. That was the only way I could get any rest. I was so tired from the strain of the vomiting and diarrhea that I could barely move.

I had to stay there for a week to recover. Rotavirus is extremely contagious, so I couldn’t have any visitors other than my mom and dad, who had already been exposed to it.


Some restaurant foods cause me to have diarrhea and fatigue. I have pinpointed a couple of dishes at certain places that have caused it more than once, and I now avoid eating there.

On two occasions, I ate some super-greasy fish and fries from a fast food place. Both times, I developed cramping and diarrhea within the hour. I had to go to the bathroom so much that I quickly lost all of my energy and had to lie down. It was hard for me to even lift my arms.

Some types of Japanese food have caused the same thing to happen to me. I try to avoid anything containing seaweed, because it makes me really sick. Things cooked with mushrooms give me diarrhea and zap my energy, also.


@Bhutan - That sounds terrible. I wanted to add that fibromyalgia and fatigue are very much related too. My father in law’s wife has fibromyalgia and not only does she experience pain in her joints but she is constantly tired all of the time.

Fighting fatigue is really hard and sometimes you have to try a variety treatment options that work.

I know that my sister was diagnosed with having a hypothyroid and she also experienced constant tiredness and her issue was directly related to her hormones. Once she received additional medication and a change in diet and exercise she was able to have more energy and was not tired all of the time.

It took a while to get there because she had to see two different endocrinologists in order to finally get the treatment that she needed to work.


I remember a few months ago I suffered from dizziness and fatigue because of a food poisoning. I had the worst headaches and overall body fatigue. I was just so tired and I think that was due to the dehydration from the vomiting and diarrhea. It was terrible because all I wanted to do was sleep.

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    • Yogurt with live cultures can rebuild intestinal flora after diarrhea.
      By: NilsZ
      Yogurt with live cultures can rebuild intestinal flora after diarrhea.
    • Salmonella, a common cause of food poisoning, can cause diarrhea and fatigue.
      By: Lyuba Bunakova
      Salmonella, a common cause of food poisoning, can cause diarrhea and fatigue.
    • Food poisoning can cause cramps, diarrhea, and fatigue.
      By: maximino gomes
      Food poisoning can cause cramps, diarrhea, and fatigue.
    • Dehydration can cause extreme fatigue.
      By: codrin
      Dehydration can cause extreme fatigue.
    • Colon cancer may cause rectal bleeding, diarrhea and fatigue.
      By: ohmega1982
      Colon cancer may cause rectal bleeding, diarrhea and fatigue.
    • People who drink excessive alcohol often experience nausea and fatigue the next day.
      By: Alliance
      People who drink excessive alcohol often experience nausea and fatigue the next day.
    • Colon cancer may cause diarrhea, fatigue and rectal bleeding.
      By: Africa Studio
      Colon cancer may cause diarrhea, fatigue and rectal bleeding.