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What are the Most Common Causes of Diarrhea and Gas?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Diarrhea and gas can be caused by a wide range of conditions. Some of them may be short-term causes, such as stomach viruses or food poisoning, but others, such as chronic irritable bowel syndrome, may last for a long time. Sometimes, however, these digestive symptoms are the result of a substance a person consumes. For example, a person may consume medication that causes diarrhea and gas, or he may experience these symptoms after drinking an excessive amount of alcoholic beverages. An individual may even experience these symptoms when he’s eaten a type of food that proves irritating to his digestive system.

Often, the cause of diarrhea and gas is a short-term illness that is passed from person to person. For example, an individual may catch a stomach virus from another person and experience digestive problems as a result. In some cases, however, these symptoms result from consuming food that is contaminated by a bacterium, parasite, or virus. Likewise, an individual may be sickened after he fails to wash his hands properly after using the bathroom and accidentally consumes fecal matter. Additionally, some people experience gas and diarrhea after drinking contaminated water.

Sometimes, a person experiences gas and diarrhea because he has a chronic condition that affects his digestive system. For example, a person may experience these symptoms when he has irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease. If an individual has digestive symptoms that last for more than two weeks or seems to reoccur, he may want to see a medical professional to rule out a chronic condition.

Medication may also cause gas and diarrhea, and many people have this reaction to some types of antibiotics. Some people may also have these symptoms after drinking a significant amount of alcohol. For example, a person may drink several alcoholic beverages at night and have gas and diarrhea when he wakes up in the morning.

In some cases, these symptoms are caused by food or drink to which an individual is sensitive or has problems digesting. For example, a person may be lactose intolerant, which means his body cannot effectively digest a type of sugar that is in dairy products. In such a case, consuming milk and other types of dairy products may result in nausea, diarrhea, and gas.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By SteamLouis — On Mar 09, 2013

Anyone here suffering from diarrhea and gas pains due to Crohn's disease? What are you doing to relieve your symptoms?

By bluedolphin — On Mar 08, 2013

@fBoyle-- I don't know anything about that medication but I had the same problem with an antibiotic I was taking.

Have you tried taking probiotic supplements or eating probiotic yogurt and kefir?

I've found that probiotics help with constant gas and diarrhea. Probiotics contain beneficial gut bacteria and help normalize activity in our digestive tract. Gas and diarrhea are typical antibiotic side effects because they kill both good and bad bacteria in the body. This is why I always take probiotics while I'm on antibiotics and I continue to take it for a while after my treatment is over.

By fBoyle — On Mar 07, 2013

Metformin medication gives me excessive gas and diarrhea. I wish I could just stop taking it but I have no other choice. I have type 2 diabetes and this is the best oral medication for this condition out there.

It actually works great and lowers and stabilizes my blood sugar well. It's just the flatulence, gas and diarrhea I have a problem with.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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