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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Suggest treatment for severe abdominal cramps with nausea and diarrhea

Answered by
Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3129 Questions

Posted on Mon, 29 Aug 2016 in Infections
Question: I woke at 4 AM Sunday with severe abdominal cramps which evolved in diarrhea that has persisted since then. No fever or nausea. Food poisoning? No issues from 7 PM last evening until 6 AM this morning. Now back to constant bathroom trips. Stomach rumbles as soon as any food or drink hits it.
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 10 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Some questions for you

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome,

Since you live in the US, and I'll assume no recent travels abroad, the risk of a parasitic infection is low. But this may be a viral gastroenteritis.

How many times per day are you having to defecate? And is it watery or bloody? Any abdominal pain now?

Also, are you feeling weak at all? And how are you maintaining your fluids?

Also, do you have any chronic health problems or take any daily medications for these?
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 59 minutes later
No travel. Mostly watery stool unless I eat something, then minimal solid. I've probably been in the bathroom every 20 minutes or so today (not for about a half hour.) No blood. No abdominal pain, just rumbling after I eat. Not my usual get up and go self but not particularly weak. Did some house cleaning yesterday. Drinking mostly ginger ale and water...some coffee with breakfast. Have eaten water melon, applesauce, cereal, chicken rice soup, English muffin. Haven't eaten any solids since breakfast. No chronic health issues. Take Evista (60 mg)daily for osteoporosis. Take a probiotic daily.

After dinner last evening (soup, oyster crackers, ginger ale), I was passing a lot of gas but no bathroom trips until early this morning.
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Help with diarrhea.

Detailed Answer:
This is most likely a viral gastroenteritis ("stomach flu") that will run it's course.

As long as you are able to maintain your hydration and not get an electrolyte imbalance from the diarrhea, you can wait it out another couple of days. Diarrhea causes loss of potassium, so if you can tolerate it, have a small amount of banana to help replace this. Sport electrolyte drinks with potassium are a good idea too.

Ginger ale that is store bought and not from a health store type place may not actually have any ginger in it but may be high in sugar and high fructose corn syrup. If this is what is in your ginger ale, I recommend not drinking much of it as sugars can increase diarrhea by increasing the osmotic load in the stools. Have water and sport electrolyte drinks instead (preferably ones with lower sugar content).

For now, no more fruit such as water melon. Fruit can increase gas and if your gut is having problems, can be more demanding on digestion. Applesauce is the exception because it contains pectin which can help with diarrhea. Avoid cereals with a lot of "roughage" right now.

Foods should be easy to digest: applesauce, rice, banana, toast, chicken rice soup, boiled or baked chicken or fish without a lot of spices or oils. If you have any vegetables (as you start to do better), cook them very well.

Rather than eating regular sized meals, eat small amounts at a time. This can be less taxing and might help you digest better right now.

You can take a diarrheal more than once a day, but be careful as you start to get better as they can result in constipation.

If you feel weak or dry-mouthed or overall ill, then do go in to be seen as an IV with potassium and antidiarrheal medicine may be needed.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if I can provide further information.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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