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Common Diarrhea Symptoms Everyone Needs to Know

Medically reviewed by Mike Kenneth Go Doratan, MD · General Surgery · The Medical City Ortigas

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Feb 16, 2021

    Common Diarrhea Symptoms Everyone Needs to Know

    Most people usually associate diarrhea with having stomach pains and loose, watery stools. However, there are other common diarrhea symptoms that might help you figure out if you have diarrhea or not, or how bad your case of diarrhea is. Here are some of the common diarrhea symptoms that you need to know about:

    5 Common diarrhea symptoms

    Diarrhea can be caused by a number of things. Sometimes it can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, and other times, the food you ate just doesn’t sit well with your stomach. There are also cases wherein certain types of medication can trigger diarrhea. However, most cases of diarrhea do not require the identification of the cause when the condition goes away without medical intervention. 

    Because there are so many different causes of diarrhea, the symptoms can also vary depending on the cause. However, there are 5 common symptoms that should let you know if you’re having diarrhea or not.

    Loose, watery stools

    The first and most common symptom is having loose, watery stools. This is probably the thing that people think of first whenever they think of diarrhea.

    This happens because your body’s cleaning out any bacteria or viruses that have somehow made it into your stomach. What your body is doing is trying to flush out the toxins by expelling it through your stool.

    However, this results in a lot of discomfort, and can even cause dehydration if someone with diarrhea is not sufficiently hydrated.

    This is why it is important to always drink a lot of water if you’re suffering from diarrhea. If possible, drink oral rehydration salts, as this can help lower the risk of dehydration.

    Abdominal pain

    People experience abdominal pain when they have diarrhea because the body is trying to flush out the infection in the stomach. The way your body moves food through your stomach and intestines is through muscle contractions.

    And when you have diarrhea, your body is basically forcing out the contents of your stomach, which can result in abdominal pain or discomfort. 

    Abdominal pain can be relieved by using a hot compress, or taking a warm bath to help soothe your stomach.

    common diarrhea symptoms

    Abdominal cramps

    Similar to abdominal pain, abdominal cramps happen because your stomach and intestinal muscles are trying to push empty the contents of your stomach and intestines. Uncoordinated contractions of your intestines and stomach lead to abdominal cramps and moderate to severe discomfort.

    The best way to relieve this would be to apply a hot compress on your stomach. However, anti-spasmodic medicine may be necessary in cases of severe pain. 

    BRAT Diet for Nausea, Vomiting, and Diarrhea


    common diarrhea symptoms

    Another common symptom of diarrhea is fever. Similar to loose, watery stools, a fever is your body’s response to any bacterial or viral infection.

    The reason for a fever is twofold – first, the increased body temperature makes your body inhospitable for certain microorganisms. Second, the increased temperature allows your body’s cells to function faster, making it easier for the immune system to fight off any invaders. Meanwhile, fever may be a sign of dehydration in children

    To deal with a fever during diarrhea, keep yourself hydrated, and as cool as possible. Placing a water-soaked towel on your forehead can also help relieve the symptoms of a fever.

    Dizziness or nausea

    Lastly, a person suffering from diarrhea can also experience dizziness. It is possible that an infection in your stomach is causing you to experience dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

    This usually happens if a person is suffering from food poisoning, or has an infection such as E. coli.

    The best way to manage this would be to get some rest, and avoid eating foods that have a strong taste or odor. Eating some soup can help ease dizziness or nausea if you have diarrhea.

    Key Takeaways

    Aside from loose stools, diarrhea can also have a number of symptoms associated with it. Knowing these symptoms can help you take better care of yourself, as well as your loved ones if they are suffering from diarrhea.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mike Kenneth Go Doratan, MD

    General Surgery · The Medical City Ortigas

    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Feb 16, 2021

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