Experiencing diarrhea and a sore throat at the same time is often a sign of a viral infection. The flu, the common cold, and COVID-19 are among the potential causes.

Individually, a sore throat and diarrhea have hundreds of potential causes. The two symptoms together are often a sign of an infection.

Although less likely, having diarrhea and a sore throat together can also have a noninfectious cause.

Read on to learn more about why you may have these two symptoms.

Here are some reasons you may have a sore throat and diarrhea.

Flu

The flu is caused by influenza viruses. Symptoms can include:

The flu can also lead to gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as:

Adenovirus infection

Adenoviruses are a common cause of respiratory illness. They generally cause flu-like symptoms that start 2–14 days after exposure. They can also lead to diarrhea and inflammation of your intestines.

COVID-19

COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2, a type of coronavirus. COVID-19 has been associated with many symptoms, including sore throat and diarrhea. Other common symptoms include:

Common cold

The common cold is most often caused by a rhinovirus. A sore throat is often the initial symptom.

Diarrhea isn’t a typical symptom of a cold, but it can occur.

Other viruses that cause colds include:

Norovirus

Noroviruses can cause illness often referred to as stomach flu or stomach bug. Symptoms commonly develop 12–48 hours after exposure and most commonly include:

Noroviruses may indirectly cause a sore throat by inducing dehydration and vomiting.

Stomach flu

Noroviruses are a common cause of stomach flu. Other causes include:

Strep throat

The most common symptom of strep throat is a sore throat. Diarrhea isn’t a symptom, but it can be a side effect of antibiotics used to treat the infection.

Food allergy

Food allergies can cause symptoms like:

Food poisoning

Food poisoning commonly causes diarrhea and vomiting. Vomiting may indirectly lead to a sore throat.

Acute gastritis

Acute gastritis is inflammation of your stomach lining, often due to an infection. Diarrhea is often one of the early symptoms. Vomiting might lead to throat irritation.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Diarrhea is a common IBS symptom. Research suggests that gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is prevalent in people with IBS. GERD can lead to throat irritation.

Dehydration

Diarrhea can cause your body to become dehydrated, and dehydration can lead to a dry throat. A dry throat can make it more prone to injury.

Mixed causes

It’s possible that your diarrhea and sore throat have separate causes such as multiple infections.

Here are some potential causes of a sore throat and diarrhea combined with other symptoms.

Sore throat, diarrhea, and fever or fatigue

  • flu
  • adenoviruses
  • COVID-19
  • common cold
  • norovirus
  • stomach flu

Stomach cramps, diarrhea, sore throat, and headache

Stomach cramps, diarrhea, sore throat, and headache might be caused by:

  • flu
  • adenoviruses
  • COVID-19
  • common cold
  • dehydration

Sore throat, diarrhea, and nausea

Sore throat, diarrhea, and nausea might be caused by:

  • flu
  • adenoviruses
  • COVID-19
  • norovirus
  • stomach flu
  • gastritis

It’s recommended to contact a doctor if you have:

A doctor can often diagnose a sore throat based on your symptoms alone. If they suspect strep throat, they typically order a throat swab.

If your diarrhea is persistent or severe, the doctor may order stool tests or a colonoscopy.

Here are some potential treatment options for a sore throat and diarrhea:

Home remedies

Home remedies for a sore throat include:

Learn more about home remedies for a sore throat.

Home remedies for diarrhea include:

Learn more about home remedies for diarrhea.

Medical treatment

A doctor may prescribe antibiotics for bacterial throat infections. Persistent diarrhea may be treated with:

  • antibiotics or antiparasitic medications
  • intravenous fluids
  • oral rehydration solutions

Here are some frequently asked questions people have about sore throats and diarrhea.

Can you have a sore throat with a stomach bug?

A stomach flu usually doesn’t cause a sore throat, but your throat may become inflamed and sore if you vomit or have acid reflux.

What virus causes diarrhea and sore throat?

Many different viruses can cause diarrhea and a sore throat. These include:

  • influenza viruses
  • adenoviruses
  • coronaviruses

Are diarrhea and sore throat symptoms of COVID-19?

Diarrhea and a sore throat are common symptoms of COVID-19. Other common symptoms include a cough, fever, or body aches.

Most viral infections in people with proper immune function are mild. It’s important to get medical attention immediately if you have concerning symptoms such as a high fever or trouble breathing.