Q. Could stomach bug cause frequent bowel movements?

Answered by
Dr. Anshul Varshney
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jul 13, 2016 and last reviewed on: Jun 01, 2020

Hi doctor,

For the past 10 days, I have been having frequent bowel movements. At first, it started with lots of pain, but the pain got subside after relieving my bowels. The stools were softer and of large quantity. No blood in stool, but a little bit of red color on my toilet paper. I have hemorrhoids, which I know and I have been impacted by all of this. I went to my regular doctor and had an abdominal CT scan last week. I have not received my results yet. I am getting pain to the right of my belly button a few times. After about five or six days when the frequency of going to the bathroom slowed down, I seemed to strain a bit more to go and the stools were coated in white. This would only occur with the harder stools. The other stools seem to be softer and more yellowish in color. After the CT scan, I am of course going to the bathroom frequently, but no white in stool at that time. So, my concern is the mucus which I have never had before. What is causing the diarrhea? Ironically, I had seen my gastro doctor when all of this began. So, I have scheduled another appointment. I had a colonoscopy two years back, all normal except for hemorrhoids and an upper GI at the same time. Gastritis was the only thing found. Since then, I had an abdominal ultrasound and pelvic ultrasound, in which all were fine. Could colon cancer develop quickly? I am a worrying and I am driving everyone around me nuts. My current medication includes Effexor, Allegra, probiotics and Xanax for anxiety. Thanks for your help in advance.

Dr. Anshul Varshney

Critical Care Physician Diabetology General Medicine Internal Medicine Medical Gastroenterology Nephrology Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors) Rheumatology
#

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

We are here to help you.

  • Your history suggests two differential diagnosis:
  1. Irritable bowel syndrome.
  2. Colitis that is inflammatory bowel disease.
  • I need the following details in order to guide you better. Since how long you have been suffering from this? Were the same complaints troubling you when your endoscopy and colonoscopy was performed?
  • Do you have any weight loss or recurring reddening of the eyes? Are you under any regular medication or painkillers?
  • Do you have any history of diabetes or high BP?

Revert back with the answers to the above questions to a medical gastroenterologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/medical-gastroenterologist


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Thank you doctor,

This episode is going on for about 11 days. When I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy, they were not quite the same symptoms. I often would need to rush to the bathroom. I believe that my mother had colitis. Also, my father is diabetic. I have lost about 2 lbs of weight. I have not been eating as much as I am pooped. Also, my period was late and lasted for only one day, which has never happened. I do not have any reddening of the eyes. I am taking Effexor. Before, I had a higher dose of Omeprazole 40 mg. Due to last month episodes of nausea and loss of appetite, I just stopped it. Although, I have now determined it as mucus in the stool. I started Buspirone about two weeks ago, which I had for anxiety. I am also on Allegra and Budesonide for allergies and I take a probiotic. I do not have any history of diabetes and I have pretty low blood pressure. Only occasionally I will take painkillers such as Motrin or Tylenol. My thought is since my colonoscopy was clear 20 months ago, this is less likely to be either cancer or colitis. But, I basically need a lot of reassurance now. Thank you.

Dr. Anshul Varshney

Critical Care Physician Diabetology General Medicine Internal Medicine Medical Gastroenterology Nephrology Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors) Rheumatology
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

  • Your symptoms are more suggestive of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • However, IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion. We investigate suspected cases of IBS with thyroid profile, fasting blood sugar and ultrasound abdomen.
  • If all the investigations are normal as you have mentioned blood and stool test, then you are probably suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Since the colonoscopy was normal, a few months back, the chances of colitis are very less. In case you ever have had blood or mucus in stools, you required to get a colonoscopy to rule out any evidence of inflammatory bowel disease.
  • I advise following for treatment of IBS. Consult your specialist doctor, discuss with him or her and take the medicine with consent.
  1. A proton pump inhibitor like Pantoprazole and Rabeprazole, which will help in neutralizing any acid if you have in the stomach.
  2. You should avoid fat and pepper in diet and prefer to take soft, bland diet.
  3. You can take a smooth muscle relaxant like Mebeverine for stomach pain, in case you have.
  4. In refractory cases, drugs like Chlordiazepoxide and Clidinium bromide can be used, if the condition is not responding.

For further doubts consult a medical gastroenterologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/medical-gastroenterologist


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Thank you doctor,

So, your opinion is that the chances of colon cancer are very unlikely since I had a clean colonoscopy before a year. Is it possible that something can grow quickly? Should the abdominal CT scan shows anything? Could the beginning of menopause be contributing to any of this? I am just a nervous wreck. Please explain.

Dr. Anshul Varshney

Critical Care Physician Diabetology General Medicine Internal Medicine Medical Gastroenterology Nephrology Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors) Rheumatology
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

  • Practically, the chances of any colitis or cancer is almost nil as the evaluation was performed and that was clear.
  • Rarely, only the progression can occur so rapidly and that is actually depends on luck. In fact, we do not need to evaluate again with colonoscopy so quickly as the chances are remote.
  • Menopause can definitely flare up anxiety and menopausal symptoms can aggravate IBS.
  • My opinion for you would be to take treatment for IBS as discussed and start meditation and yoga. I would be evaluating you again after seven days.

Revert back after seven days to a medical gastroenterologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/medical-gastroenterologist


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Thank you doctor,

I like the response of almost nil and that helps me a lot. Yes, I do need meditation or yoga. I have had health anxiety most of my life. One last thing, will those recommendations help the mucus go away? I have never seen that before. I did read that hemorrhoids can produce mucus as well. Is that possible? Only harder, more strained stools seem to have mucus, while the softer ones are not really visible with it. Also, I will discuss your suggestions with my doctor, when I hear from him. Thank you.

Dr. Anshul Varshney

Critical Care Physician Diabetology General Medicine Internal Medicine Medical Gastroenterology Nephrology Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors) Rheumatology
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I am glad that I am able to make you happy.

  • Mucus release is a part of IBS only. The drug that is most effective in IBS related mucus is Mebeverine.
  • You would see the drastic reduction in mucus release once you started on Mebeverine. Consult your doctor, discuss with him or her and take the medicine with their consent.
  • Now, as far as hemorrhoids are concerned, they do not produce mucus. So, your mucus release is not because of that.
  • Great to hear that you are doing yoga. Start meditation. Start eating a light diet and  try to follow low FODMAP diet (food with less fructose, sucrose, etc and easily digestable).

For further information consult a medical gastroenterologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/medical-gastroenterologist


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Thank you doctor,

I know I am crazy, but I wanted to make sure that you were clear on the date of the colonoscopy. It was done 20 months ago and the abdominal and pelvic ultrasound were done two months ago. Is the chance still nil? Are you sure that there is no link between hemorrhoids and mucus?

Dr. Anshul Varshney

Critical Care Physician Diabetology General Medicine Internal Medicine Medical Gastroenterology Nephrology Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors) Rheumatology
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

No, it is not about being crazy. It is all about health.

  • I have already understood the timings when you had your tests done. So, I would again say that the chances are very less.
  • You may however, go ahead for hemoglobin and stool for occult blood. In case we find any issue with them, we can plan a colonoscopy.
  • As far as hemorrhoids and mucus are concerned, the evidences are lacking. I personally do not favor the presence of mucus is attributed to hemorrhoids.
  • Get the above mentioned tests to be sure. Chances of colon cancer are very less and remote based on the investigations performed previously as per the dates mentioned.

For further information consult a medical gastroenterologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/medical-gastroenterologist


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Thank you doctor.

I have had some blood work done. All my blood work has been normal. Now, did your response go from nil to very less? Is it possible, that a stomach bug could have caused all of this? Thank you.

Dr. Anshul Varshney

Critical Care Physician Diabetology General Medicine Internal Medicine Medical Gastroenterology Nephrology Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors) Rheumatology
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

  • I mentioned the tests to be sure and these tests are non-invasive, so can give you a clue if anything is wrong.
  • I mentioned that chances are almost nil based on the history, but no one can give you surety.
  • As far as stomach bug is concerned, yes, it can aggravate IBS.
  • I hope you have been treated for a stomach bug. Such stomach infections are transient and get completely treated.

For further information consult a medical gastroenterologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/medical-gastroenterologist


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