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What are the Most Common Causes of Sore Throat and Upset Stomach?

Laura M. Sands
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The most common causes of sore throat and upset stomach include the common cold, sinusitis and a bacterial infection known as strep throat. In rare cases, these symptoms may also indicate an influenza infection, also known simply as the flu. These symptoms alone are not usually the signs of a serious illness. When coupled with other symptoms such as an unusually high fever, confusion, vomiting, diarrhea or loss of consciousness, a more serious illness could be the cause, however.

The rhinovirus, also known as the common cold, will sometimes produce a sore throat and upset stomach. Other symptoms may also include sneezing, nasal congestion, fever, cough, a hoarse speaking voice and chills. Most people experience the common cold at least once in a lifetime and many experience multiple bouts with this illness.

Individuals with a sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, will often experience a sore throat, and an upset stomach can be caused by swallowing mucus. A headache may also accompany these symptoms as swelling of the sinuses commonly prompts pain in the forehead, face and ears. Other symptoms of sinusitis include runny nose, nasal congestion, coughing, fever and producing thick mucus. Symptoms may also appear to worsen at night when lying down.

A sore throat and upset stomach may also be caused by strep throat. Such may particularly be the case in adults with heart issues or children under 16 years old, as both of these groups are more susceptible to the disease than the rest of the population. Often, this illness is confused with the common cold since it is also accompanied by symptoms such as fever, chills and headache, but includes symptoms such as a skin rash, loss of appetite and stomach pain. A sore throat that is accompanied by congestion is most likely not strep throat, but may simply be common cold symptoms instead. To accurately distinguish symptoms, however, a throat culture must be examined by a health care professional.

Occasionally, a sore throat and upset stomach may be flu symptoms. While influenza is a respiratory infection, stomach upset, diarrhea and vomiting can accompany the usual symptoms of coughing, achy muscles, headache and congestion. There are also many different influenza types, such as the H1N1 virus, the avian flu and others. While most are treatable with rest and antiviral medications, persistent symptoms, including vomiting or diarrhea, sometimes require emergency treatment.

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.
Laura M. Sands
By Laura M. Sands
Laura Sands, the founder of a publishing company, brings her passion for writing and her expertise in digital publishing to her work. With a background in social sciences and extensive online work experience, she crafts compelling copy and content across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a skilled contributor to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By anon952319 — On May 20, 2014

I'm 16 years old and I have a sore throat, stuffy nose and a stomach ache/bloating. What does this mean?

By anon196098 — On Jul 13, 2011

when I have a sore throat I gargle with apple cider vinegar and it works like magic! It's totally disgusting but it works like a charm.

By ellafarris — On Jun 25, 2011

@babylove - Your garlic remedy may be great for an ordinary sore throat but it won't do much for the strep virus. The main difference between a sore throat and strep is that strep throat symptoms will include a persistent stomach ache and high fever.

I'm not an expert in the medical field but I have had quite a bit of experience with strep throat. My son, an active high school senior, has probably dealt with it at least six or seven times in his childhood.

He still gets an occasional sore throat now and then, but we haven't had to see a doctor over it in the past few years. I can always tell the difference in the pain with him. When he gargles salt water then runs off with his friends, it's just a sore throat. But if it's eighty degrees outside and he's covered up in blankets and running a high fever, then I know it's time to see the doctor.

By MsClean — On Jun 25, 2011

How can you tell if you have an ordinary sore throat or if it's something more serious like strep throat? I've never had strep throat and I don't remember anyone in my family ever having it either.

By babylove — On Jun 24, 2011

@Sierra02 - Thank you for sharing your home remedies for a sore throat with us. A cup of green tea with lemon and honey sounds delicious enough that I won't even need an excuse to drink it.

I'm not one to run to the doctor every time I have a little throat pain so I too look for natural products to help ease the pain whenever I can. Usually it's something I already have around the house like garlic.

Garlic is my cure-all. It has natural antiseptic abilities that has the power to destroy most bacterial and viral sore throats. At the first sign of a sore throat, I take a small clove and pinch it between my cheek and gum. It doesn't do much for my breath but it does wonders for a sore throat.

By Sierra02 — On Jun 21, 2011

My favorite treatment for a sore throat is a cup of warm green tea with honey. That and water are the only things I can drink when my throat hurts. I usually gargle with warm water and sea salt about three or four times a day.

When the symptoms are really bad I usually include a few drops of lemon juice and sometimes a vitamin C lozenge to help speed up the relief.

This is what has always worked for me and it seems like I get some kind of sore throat infection at least twice a year. It's crazy. It must be the environment we live in today, but green tea, lemon, honey and sea salt are all miracle sore throat cures for me.

Laura M. Sands
Laura M. Sands
Laura Sands, the founder of a publishing company, brings her passion for writing and her expertise in digital publishing...
Learn more
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