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What Are the Causes of Diarrhea With Flatulence?

Updated June 13, 2017

Diarrhoea is characterised by bowel movements that are too loose or occur too frequently. Flatulence involves the passing of gas from the lower intestine and often accompanies other gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhoea. There are many potential causes of diarrhoea with flatulence, some of which can lead to serious complications.

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Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is characterised by an inability to digest and absorb the milk sugar lactose. Diarrhoea and flatulence are among the chief symptoms of lactose intolerance, according to Other symptoms may include bloating, nausea or abdominal pain.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel diseases, or IBDs, are a group of autoimmune conditions involving chronic inflammation in the digestive tract. Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, coeliac disease and diverticulitis fall under this heading. In addition to flatulence and diarrhoea, IBDs may cause fever, fatigue, abdominal pain and weight loss.

Viral/Bacterial Infection

Often mistakenly referred to as the "stomach flu," gastroenteritis is caused by common viruses like adenovirus and rotavirus. Bacterial infection usually results from food poisoning and shares many symptoms with viral infection, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea accompanied by excessive gas or flatulence.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome refers to a collection of symptoms rather than a disease. Diarrhoea and flatulence are common symptoms of IBS, as are bloating, abdominal distension and constipation. While the exact causes are unknown, symptoms may be triggered by food sensitivities, stress and other factors affecting the movement of the gastrointestinal tract, according to


In rare cases, diarrhoea can lead to life-threatening complications like dehydration. If you experience diarrhoea accompanied by a fever of more than 38.9 degrees C, vomiting, fainting or blood in the stool, seek immediate medical attention.

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About the Author

Based in Las Vegas, Tracii Hanes is a freelance writer specializing in health and psychology with over seven years of professional experience. She got her start as a news reporter and has since focused exclusively on freelance writing, contributing to websites like Wellsphere, Education Portal and more. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication arts from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

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