ZocdocAnswersI have painful diarrhea and a bad stomach ache. Why is this?

Question

I have painful diarrhea and a bad stomach ache. Why is this?

I recently ate some barely-expired ketchup and have had diarrhea for two days so far.

Answer

I would strongly recommend that you see your primary care doctor. If you symptoms worsen, I would recommend that you go to the nearest emergency room. Your symptoms sound like food poisoning. Food poisoning is a general term that we refer to an infectious cause of gastrointestinal inflammation. Often food poisoning is caused by a bacteria or bacterial toxin. The ketchup may have been the cause, or it could have been something else. Raw vegetables or meats are the common causes, but other foods are possible. Normally the body can heal it on its own. Especially for toxins, there are no antibiotics that work. However, occasionally the bacteria that cause the inflammation requires antibiotics to clear it. The inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract causes nausea, pain and diarrhea. Therefore these symptoms are expected. Keep in mind you lose a lot of fluid with diarrhea and eat less -- so dehydration is a complication that must be avoided. Drinking fluids aggressively is important. Another possibility is a more serious abdominal infection. Viral gastroenteritis, abdominal abscess or appendicitis is possible. If this does not resolve over the next day I would recommend seeing your doctor. Talk to your doctor. This is a serious condition.

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