Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is it possible that I have a chronic stomach virus?"
For the last few months I go from having diarrhea to being constipated. I'm 33 years old and have never had a problem like this before. I don't feel achy or sick, but this certainly isn't fun. What could be the cause of something like this? Do I have a stomach virus?
There are many possible causes of what you are describing. There may be a problem with muscles in your intestine, or the intestine may be recently more sensitive to stretching or movement. In some cases it may be an intestinal infection. If you have frequent bowel movements mixed with blood or mucus, and abdominal pain and cramping, you may have inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn's disease. On the other hand, if you are currently taking an antibiotic or other new medication, your condition may be caused by the medicine. Or, perhaps you have an irritable bowel syndrome or spastic colon that can sometimes cause symptoms like alternating diarrhea and constipation and it can get worse when you are under stress. If so, you will need to gradually increase the amount of fiber in your diet and drink plenty of fluids. Should you see blood in your stools, you need to call your doctor immediately. There are still many more causes to give your symptoms that may require prompt medical attention. Since it is impossible to establish a diagnosis online with a brief medical brief history, I suggest a visit with a primary care doctor who will order tests to rule out any serious condition and help you with a correct diagnosis or may refer you to a gastroenterologist for further work-up if warranted.