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Diarrhea, cramps, loss of apetite, red spots in stools. What can be this due to?

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Hi, I have been having diarrhea constantly for the last 4 or so days. The diarrhea seems happen most of the time in morning and night. Usually I'll have 2 or 3 passing of diarrhea in the morning and then again at night. I feel cramps all though the day. I have an increased frequency of wanting to pass stool all through the day but if I try to go it sometime is gas or very small amount of stool. Also been having loss of appetite. Having the feeling of in a haze in the morning and night but less during the day. Been checking stools for blood and one time I saw bright red small spots but I did eat a meal the previous evening that had lots of tomatoes in it and hot sauce on it. I am going to see a doctor next Tuesday but I can't help thinking about this and losing sleep.
Posted Sun, 1 Jul 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan 51 minutes later
Hello there,

Thanks for the query.

Some more information can help me guide you better
1. Is the crampy abdominal pain relieved with passing stools/gas?
2. Any history of similar complaints in your family members?
3. By diarrhoea, do you mean loose watery, large volume stools or just increased frequency like 4 times a day with formed pellet like/ solid stools.
4.Any history of fever/vomiting?
5.Are you on medication for hypertension or is it under control with diet and exercise?
6.Any family history of intestinal polyps or colorectal cancer?

With the details you have provided in your query, it appears that you are having a large bowel disease or diarrhoea. These are the possible differential diagnosis,
2.INFECTIVE CAUSES- amoebic colitis, shigella.

Stool examination is mandatory to look for bacteria ,parasites, blood etc.

Meanwhile , keep yourself rehydrated with fluids. Avoid carbonated beverages, XXXXXXX fried fatty/ greasy food. De-stress yourself. Listen to soothing relaxing music. Try meditation.If possible, once you are better, sign up for yoga class. You might be able to sleep well without the help of alprazolam.

Awaiting your reply.
Get well soon. Regards,
Dr.Divya Kuttikrishnan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Diarrhea, cramps, loss of apetite, red spots in stools. What can be this due to? 7 hours later
Thank you for your response.

1. I would say passing stools helps a little. The crampy abdominal pain is not at all a very strong pain but its enough to cause insomnia.
2. No similar complaints from family members
3. Sometimes its just watery stools, sometimes its like XXXXXXX sauce. Its always a small volume of stools but I have to go way more often during the day. If I feel the stools, it feels greasy, if its not too watery.
4. No fever or vomiting
5. I am not on medication for hypertension and it not under control but the ER checked it last Friday and didn't say anything about it
6. My Grandmother had colon cancer and a cousin did too.

I went to the ER because of my insomnia (unable to go to sleep), which I've had about 3 days before the diarrhea got so regular. I told them about the diarrhea but since it wasn't that bad then I thought the insomnia was being caused by pain in my right side of abdomen (still have) and involuntary limb movements (which have now subsided after taking alpracolam). They gave me a prescription for alprazolam that has helped my fall asleep but I now always wake up very early for me and have the cramping and wanting to dedicate and unable to fall back asleep.

During the time I've had this diarrhea I had one time in the middle when I had normal solid stools but it was small volume of stools. How do I know the difference between blood and red colored undigested food?
Answered by Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan 14 hours later
Hello there,

I would still put IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME at the top of my list. Points in favor--crampy abdominal pain, pain relieved a little with passage of stools, altered bowel habits, insomnia. In addition, we are not sure if there was blood in stools, or were it just undigested food particles. Probably your lack of sleep/insomnia/stress about falling asleep could have worsened IBS. How was the onset of insomnia? Was it because of a stressful situation or anxiety about a particular issue?

It is difficult to know the difference between blood in stools and red colored undigested food unless you get a Stool examination done. Certain foods like beetroot and tomatoes can cause a reddish discoloration of the stool. STOOL EXAMINATION can help by detecting parasites/bacteria/blood/occult blood and thereby might help in the diagnosis of your condition.

The doctor might also do a DIGITAL RECTAL EXAMINATION if he/ she suspects bleeding from the rectum. Another test that can be done is COLONOSCOPY to look for any polyps or tumors (since there is a family history of colon cancer). I do not mean to scare you, just ruling out the possibilities.

Meanwhile, as I said relax, de-stress and listen to soothing, relaxing music. Go to sleep only when you feel sleepy. Do not lie in bed tossing and turning about trying to fall asleep. If you can't sleep, get up and do some activity you really enjoy. Have warm water and fluids throughout the day. It helps with the digestion.
Avoid Tea, coffee, alcohol, carbonated beverages, highly sweetened foods, fatty foods, dairy products.
Have smaller quantity, frequent meals every 3 hours or so. It might reduce the crampy pain.
Have fresh fruits and vegetables.
However, avoid veggies that can cause bloating or gaseous distension like cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, beans, and pulses like dal.
Regular exercise is necessary, as it will take care of both your insomnia, hypertension and bowel problems. Exercise early in the evening or late afternoon for a good night's sleep. Do not exercise at night as people feel more active just after exercise.

Hope I have answered your question. Kindly get back to me if you have any further queries.

Have a great day.
Dr.Divya Kuttikrishnan

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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