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What causes abdominal bloating and diarrhea? 21 possible conditions

See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.


Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerence occurs when a person's small intestine can't break down lactose, an enzyme found in dairy foods. The condition can cause many gastrointestinal symptoms.

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Giardiasis is a parasitic infection of the small intestine. It may cause fatigue, stomach pain, bloating, and excessive gas.

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Food Allergy Basics

Food allergies are overblown responses by the immune system to foods that aren't typically harmful - like eggs and peanuts. Continue reading and learn more about food allergies, and how to prevent or treat sever...

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Amebiasis is a parasitic infection, common in tropical countries and caused by contaminated water. Symptoms can be severe and usually start one to four weeks after exposure.

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Malabsorption Syndrome

Malabsorption syndrome occurs when the intestine's ability to absorb important nutrients is compromised. Certain conditions, such as Celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, and dairy allergies may lead to malabsorption.

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PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)

PMS symptoms start five to 11 days before menstruation and typically go away once menstruation begins. The cause of PMS is unknown.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition that affects the large intestine and causes many uncomfortable symptoms, such as bloating, gas, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and pain.

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Celiac Disease (Gluten Intolerance)

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder caused by an immune reaction to gluten. Symptoms vary but can include arthritis, fatigue, and abdominal symptoms.

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Crohn’s Disease

Crohn's disease is a chronic bowel disease that causes severe inflammation of the digestive tract. It is associated with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and may affect your quality of life. Crohn's disease is characterized b...

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Diverticulitis occurs when the bulging sacs that usually appear in the lining of the large intestine get infected or inflamed. This usually causes abdominal tenderness on the lower left side, nausea, and diarrhea.

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Hookworm Infections

Hookworms are parasites that affect the small intestine and lungs. The first sign of infection is usually a rash where the parasite entered the skin, followed by diarrhea.

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Colitis is inflammation of the colon, often causing discomfort and pain in the abdomen, as well as other gastrointestinal symptoms. Colitis has many possible causes, which determine the type.

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Intestinal Obstruction

If your small or large intestine becomes blocked, fluid and digested food cannot move through. This can cause bloating, stomach cramps, and burping.

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E. coli Infection

E. coli is a type of bacteria normally found in intestines. But certain kinds of E. coli can cause infection and severe symptoms like diarrhea and dehydration.

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Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a recessive genetic disorder that affects cells that produce mucous, sweat, and digestive juices. It may cause severe problems in the lungs, pancreas, liver, and intestine

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Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma)

Scleroderma is an autoimmune disorder that is characterized by changes in the texture and appearance of the skin due to an increase in collagen. It can affect blood vessels and muscles, and a number of vital organs.

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Legionnaires' Disease

Legionnaires' disease is a serious type of lung infection, or pneumonia, caused by bacteria. Fever, chills, cough, and head and muscle aches are common symptoms.

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Hirschsprung Disease

Hirschsprung disease is a blockage that occurs in the colon in about one of every 5,000 births. The cause is unknown, but tends to affect more boys and those with Down syndrome or another inherited condition.

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Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy occurs when nerves malfunction because they're damaged or destroyed. You'll notice a tingling, numbness, or weakness, and possibly sweating, constipation, or diarrhea.

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Poliomyelitis, or polio, is a highly contagious disease that is caused by a virus that attacks the body's nervous system. It is most likely to be contracted by children under five years old.

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.