Intestinal cramps with diarrhea
By definition, diarrhea is a change in stool behavior that is associated with an increased stool frequency. The bowel movement must occur more than three times a day. In addition, diarrhea is usually associated with a change in the consistency of the bowel movements. The stool usually becomes softer or more fluid.
Intestinal cramps are the spasmodic tension in the smooth muscles of the intestine. These muscles are responsible for transporting food through the intestines. Incorrect regulation can lead to prolonged tension and thus to intestinal cramps. If the two symptoms occur in combination, one speaks of intestinal cramps with diarrhea.
Bowel cramps and diarrhea can have many causes. Particularly when they occur together, a pronounced irritation of the digestive system can be assumed. The causes of the complaints can first be divided into inflammatory and non-inflammatory causes.
When it comes to inflammatory causes, a distinction is made between infectious and non-infectious triggers. Pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and parasites are among the infectious causes that can trigger intestinal cramps and diarrhea. Other inflammatory diseases, such as chronic inflammatory bowel disease, are also associated with intestinal cramps and diarrhea. However, it is inflammation that is caused by autoimmune processes. The immune system develops defense substances against its own body and thereby triggers inflammation.
Other causes for the symptoms can be food intolerance, for example. The body reacts excessively to the constituents of certain foods. This leads to an imbalance in the digestion through various processes and can thus trigger intestinal cramps with diarrhea.
Find out all about the topic here: The intestinal cramps.
Other accompanying symptoms
In addition to intestinal cramps with diarrhea, the symptoms of diseases in the digestive tract include other complaints such as flatulence, nausea and vomiting. Inflammatory diseases can also cause fever and fatigue, as well as reduced performance and fatigue and fatigue.
Diarrhea is also often accompanied by changes in the consistency, color and smell of the stool.
Fever is a symptom that generally indicates inflammation in the body or the activity of the immune system. If there are complaints in the digestive tract, it quickly leads to a fever. A particularly pronounced fever occurs with infectious diseases.Since the body has to deal acutely with new pathogens in this case, the immune system is activated particularly strongly and moderate to high fever can develop.
Chronic bowel inflammation can also be accompanied by a recurring fever. The disease often occurs in episodes, usually the fever attacks are accompanied by acute worsening of the intestinal cramps and diarrhea.
Read more on the topic: The fever.
Vomiting is occasionally associated with bowel cramps and diarrhea. As a rule, vomiting is accompanied by previous nausea. Typically, vomiting is a protective mechanism of the digestive system, because harmful substances can be excreted again before a thorough digestion.
Vomiting is a typical sign of spoiled food or an infection with intestinal bacteria, viruses or, rarely, parasites. Nausea and vomiting in the case of intestinal cramps with diarrhea can also occur in the case of food intolerance.
The stomach cramps
Stomach cramps usually have a similar origin to intestinal cramps, so the symptoms are often related. In the case of stomach cramps, the muscles of the stomach cramp. In contrast to the intestines, the muscles are not only responsible for the further transport of food, they also have an important role to play in the first mixing of the chyme with digestive juices.
Stomach cramps, like intestinal cramps with diarrhea, often have an infectious cause. Chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, on the other hand, are often limited to the intestines. Pronounced stomach cramps can also indicate bleeding in the stomach or in the esophagus, usually leading to severe nausea with vomiting.
For more information, see: The stomach cramps.
The bloody diarrhea
In bloody diarrhea, a distinction is made between two different sources of bleeding. If there is a particularly dark (dark brown to black) discoloration of the stool, it is often blood that has already been digested. In this case, the source of bleeding is in the upper parts of the digestive tract (stomach, esophagus), so that the blood comes into contact with the strong stomach acid. This oxidizes it and gives it its dark color.
If, on the other hand, the bloody diarrhea shows up in the form of bright red deposits on the stool, it is usually bleeding in sections of the intestine further down. Common causes are injuries to the mucous membrane of the large and rectum. Possible triggers for this can be infectious diseases or inflammation in the intestine.
Blood in stool with diarrhea? Read more here.
Many symptomatic therapy options are used in the treatment of intestinal cramps with diarrhea. Usually these are independent of the underlying disease. Since the symptoms can be traced back to muscle cramps, relaxation and warmth (e.g. a hot water bottle) can alleviate the symptoms. In addition, the digestive tract should not be further burdened by gentle food, for example rusks or white bread are suitable.
The diarrhea often leads to pronounced loss of fluid, which is why it is important to drink enough water. In particular, teas (herbal, peppermint, fennel, chamomile tea) or a broth can also calm the intestines. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, antispasmodic medication (Buscopan, Magnesium) and pain reliever medication (Paracetamol; attention: ibuprofen, aspirin, etc. can worsen the symptoms) can be used. Paracetamol also has an antipyretic effect.
Depending on the underlying cause, other treatment options may be considered. In the case of food intolerances, the triggering foods should be avoided. Chronic inflammation in the intestine is often caused by autoimmune processes, so therapy that shuts down the immune system may be required. For this purpose, substances such as cortisone are usually used first, in advanced stages immunosuppressants can also be used.
What works best against intestinal cramps? Read on here.
Bowel cramps with diarrhea are a combination of symptoms that can indicate many different diseases. Since the spectrum of possible causes is broad, the anamnesis (i.e. the questioning of the person concerned) is of great importance. This is followed by a physical examination during which the abdomen is listened to, tapped and palpated.
The suspected causes can be further specified, for example, by means of imaging procedures (often ultrasound, possibly additional X-rays, rarely MRI or CT). A blood sample with laboratory tests can provide further information (for example, inflammatory processes or special antibodies can be detected here). If this is not enough, a colonoscopy can be carried out, in which the intestine can be examined from the inside with a camera, and tissue samples can be taken from the intestine during this examination.
Find out more about the topic here: The colonoscopy.
The duration and prognosis of intestinal cramps with diarrhea strongly depend on the cause. Infectious diseases are usually healed after a few days to two weeks. Complaints due to spoiled food usually only last a few days. If there are no complications (pronounced loss of fluid, transfer of pathogens into the blood, etc.), these diseases heal without consequences.
Food intolerances, on the other hand, often last a lifetime. However, the symptoms can be completely avoided if the triggering foods are avoided. Chronic inflammatory bowel diseases often persist for a long time, and the symptoms come on in a relapsing manner. However, the symptoms can be contained with adequate therapy.
The course of the disease
The course of the disease depends on the cause of the intestinal cramps and the diarrhea. Acute infections and spoiled food usually cause severe symptoms for a few days, after which the symptoms quickly subside. If the food that triggers it is consumed, intolerance can trigger the symptoms again and again, and the symptoms may worsen each time the food is consumed.
Chronic inflammatory bowel diseases occur in phases, and it is not uncommon for the symptoms to worsen over several years, so that stronger treatment options are necessary.
How contagious is that?
How contagious the intestinal cramps with diarrhea are depends to a large extent on the underlying disease. Infectious causes are generally contagious and can be transmitted from one infected person to the next.
Autoimmune diseases and food intolerances, on the other hand, are not contagious. An increased susceptibility to the diseases can at best be passed on from parents to children through genetic imprinting.