Diarrhea isn’t uncommon in people with COVID-19. It may also cause stomach growling from an increase of muscle contractions in your gut.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by an infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

As of early November 2022, the Omicron BA.5 coronavirus variant makes up around 50% of current COVID-19 cases in the United States. In an April 2022 study, researchers found the five most commonly reported symptoms of people with COVID-19 caused by Omicron were:

Many other symptoms have also been reported, including:

Gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea aren’t uncommon in people with COVID-19. Diarrhea can also potentially cause loud stomach growling from an increase in muscle contractions and spasms in your gut.

Keep reading to learn more about the connection between COVID-19 and gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and stomach gurgling.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that primarily enters your body through your respiratory tract. It’s thought that the coronavirus infects cells by binding to angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors. These receptors are found throughout your body, including your lungs and gastrointestinal tract.

If the coronavirus enters your gastrointestinal tract, it can cause gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea. Studies estimate that 35.7% to 54.5% of people with COVID-19 have traces of the virus in stool samples, suggesting that it reached their gastrointestinal tract.

How common are gastrointestinal symptoms and diarrhea?

Estimates of how many people with COVID-19 develop diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms vary widely, from 3% to 79%, based on factors like:

  • COVID-19 severity
  • vaccination status
  • coronavirus variant

Diarrhea is thought to be one of the most common gastrointestinal symptoms. Studies report it in anywhere from 2% to 50% of people with COVID-19.

In a 2022 study with 1,672 people hospitalized with COVID-19, researchers found that 40.7% of them developed gastrointestinal symptoms. Of those with gastrointestinal symptoms, 28.3% had diarrhea.

How common is a gurgling stomach?

The medical name for a gurgling stomach or intestinal noise is borborygmus (plural: borborygmi). The rate of borborygmi in people with COVID-19 hasn’t been evaluated. However, it has been reported as a symptom of COVID-19 in case studies.

Borborygmi are caused by the movement of fluid and gas through your digestive tract. They commonly occur alongside diarrhea due to increased muscular contractions and spasms of the intestines. It’s likely that many people with COVID-19 and diarrhea also develop borborygmi.

Many gastrointestinal symptoms have been reported in people with COVID-19. Here’s a look at some of the most commonly reported symptoms.


In a 2021 review of 41 studies, researchers found that at least 10.5% of people with COVID-19 developed nausea in half of the studies. For comparison, at least 11% of people developed diarrhea in half of the studies.


In the same 2021 review, 7% of people developed vomiting in at least half of the studies.

Abdominal pain

In a 2021 study that examined the medical records of 507 people with either confirmed or highly probable COVID-19, abdominal pain was reported in 29.3% of people who had gastrointestinal symptoms alone and 15.2% of people with gastrointestinal and respiratory systems together.

In the same study, diarrhea was reported in 35.9% of people who developed gastrointestinal symptoms alone and 37.7% of people with gastrointestinal and respiratory symptoms.

Unintentional weight loss

In another 2021 study, researchers examined weight loss rates among people with COVID-19 in one region in Italy. They found that 29% of the 213 study participants lost at least 5% of their body weight.

Weight loss was more common among people who were hospitalized. Weight loss was reported in 31% of people treated in the hospital and 21% of people treated at home.

People with greater markers of inflammation lost more weight.

Loss of appetite

Loss of appetite seems to be common among people with COVID-19. In a 2022 study, about a quarter of people with the Omicron variant self-reported skipping meals.

A gurgling stomach or bowel can be a symptom of indigestion. It often occurs alongside diarrhea. Diarrhea can be a symptom of many infectious and noninfectious conditions. These conditions include:

Infectious causes

Noninfectious causes

Most people with COVID-19 who have gastrointestinal symptoms usually also have more typical COVID-19 symptoms, like:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat

Even if you have all the known gastrointestinal symptoms of COVID-19, it doesn’t mean you have COVID-19.

If you believe that you may have COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends isolating yourself from others. If you test negative for COVID-19, you can end your isolation. If you test positive or don’t get tested, stay home for at least 5 days.

Most people with COVID-19 don’t need medical attention.

Most cases of diarrhea get better by themselves. If your diarrhea persists for more than a couple of days, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention. It’s especially important to contact a doctor if you have potential symptoms of a serious underlying condition, such as:

Medical emergency

The CDC recommends calling emergency medical services or going to the nearest emergency room if you experience:

  • trouble breathing
  • persistent chest pain or pressure
  • new confusion
  • an inability to stay awake
  • lips, skin, or nail beds that are pale, gray, or blue, depending on your skin tone

Diarrhea is one of the most common gastrointestinal symptoms of COVID-19. Diarrhea can also cause gurgling noises in your stomach or intestines from increased muscular contractions.

Most people with COVID-19 have a mild case that gets better with plenty of rest. It’s important to seek immediate medical attention if you develop emergency symptoms, like trouble breathing or persistent chest pain.