Vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain commonly occur together and may be caused by many illnesses. Some are relatively harmless, while others require prompt treatment.

Below, the article explains 11 causes of vomiting and diarrhea with stomach pain. It also lists the treatments and complications that may occur.

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Gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu, is a very common intestinal infection. It typically occurs due to a virus, bacteria, or parasite.

The symptoms can include:

Viral gastroenteritis is the second most common illness in the United States and often stems from consuming food or water containing viral particles. The most common causes are norovirus and rotavirus.

Bacteria that can cause bacterial gastroenteritis include:

Learn more about food poisoning and gastroenteritis.

Diverticulosis involves pouches forming in the wall of the colon. Diverticulitis is the medical name for the infection and inflammation of these pouches.

Diverticulitis typically causes pain in the lower left part of the abdomen. Other symptoms may include:

The likelihood of developing diverticulosis increases with age. Researchers currently believe that the main cause is having a diet with low amounts of fiber.

Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the ingestion of gluten causes the immune system to attack its own cells. This can cause permanent damage to the small intestine.

Symptoms of celiac disease may include:

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases estimates (NIDDK) that about 2 million people in the U.S. have celiac disease, though many may be unaware of it.

COVID-19 is an illness that predominately affects the respiratory system. The cause is the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

People with COVID-19 may experience a wide range of symptoms, including:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms may appear 2–14 days after exposure to the virus.

For more advice on COVID-19 prevention and treatment, visit our coronavirus hub.

Side effects or adverse events are unwanted reactions to a medication.

Some common side effects include:

  • an upset stomach
  • dry mouth
  • drowsiness
  • insomnia
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting

Endometriosis involves cells similar to those of the uterine lining growing elsewhere in the body.

Symptoms of endometriosis may include:

A bowel obstruction involves the partial or full blockage of the small or large intestine. The blocked part swells with food, fluids, and gas, triggering symptoms such as:

  • stomach cramping
  • stomach pain
  • an inability to pass gas
  • abdominal swelling
  • appetite loss
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • severe constipation or diarrhea

Learn about the many causes of bowel obstruction.

Pancreatitis is the medical term for acute inflammation of the pancreas. The condition usually begins with a sudden onset of severe stomach pain that radiates to the back.

The pain usually worsens when the person:

  • takes deep breaths
  • coughs
  • moves around

Additional symptoms may include:

  • a loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • a fever
  • sweating
  • jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes

Appendicitis is infection and inflammation of the appendix.

The appendix is a small pouch of tissue that sits inside the colon. It is located in the lower right section of the abdomen.

In addition to diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, symptoms of appendicitis may include:

  • loss of appetite
  • abdominal pain
  • fatigue
  • frequent urination

In about 40% of cases, a person will also experience a fever.

Iron poisoning occurs when too much iron builds up in the body. This may result from the person taking too many supplements that contain iron.

Symptoms of iron poisoning may include:

Anaphylaxis is the medical term for a severe allergic reaction. The trigger may be a medication or food, for example.

Anaphylaxis happens quickly and can be fatal. Symptoms may include:

Persistent diarrhea and vomiting can lead to complications, such as dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

The complications depend on the cause of the vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.

For example, certain digestive conditions can cause intestinal malabsorption, which prevents the person from getting enough nutrients from food. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies and weight loss.

Untreated pancreatitis, appendicitis, and bowel obstructions can cause serious and potentially life threatening complications such as sepsis, an infection that spreads to the bloodstream and attacks other organs.

The right treatment for vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain depends on the cause of these symptoms.

Many cases of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are nothing to be alarmed by and resolve in a few days. In the meantime, it is important to get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids to prevent and treat dehydration.

If symptoms are severe or persistent, dietary changes, adjustments to current medications, or medical treatments may be necessary. These treatments may include:

  • medications for intestinal infections
  • pain relief medications
  • intravenous, or IV, fluids
  • hospitalization or surgery for serious illnesses, such as appendicitis or bowel obstructions

Anyone who experiences sudden, severe stomach pain with or without vomiting and diarrhea may want to seek emergency care. In particular, the following groups may be more at risk for serious complications:

In addition, anyone who experiences vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain, plus one or more of the following symptoms should receive professional care as soon as possible:

  • vomiting that is that lasts more than 24 hours
  • dehydration symptoms or inability to take in fluids
  • bloody vomit
  • diarrhea that lasts for more than 2 days
  • stomach pain that awakens the person from sleep
  • any symptoms that began after an injury or surgery to the stomach
  • sudden swelling or bruising of the belly
  • symptoms of dehydration, such as dizziness, dry mouth, and lethargy
  • jaundice
  • pain in the chest, arm, neck, or jaw
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing

The following are answers to additional questions about diarrhea and stomach pain.

When should I go to the ER for stomach pain and diarrhea?

Diarrhea can be a symptom of gastritis. However, it does not immediately indicate you need emergency help as long as you are able to stay hydrated. You should see a doctor immediately or go to the hospital if you have had gastritis symptoms for longer than a week, are vomiting blood or black sputum, have blood in your stool, have pain that is getting worse, or you develop a fever.

Are diarrhea and stomach cramps symptoms of Covid 19?

While not common symptoms of Covid-19, digestive symptoms can occur with an infection of the virus. They are usually associated with a less severe form of illness but can also occur with a more severe illness. Covid-19 can be detected in stool.

Why do I have a sudden stomach ache and diarrhea?

Abdominal pain and diarrhea can have many causes. They include infection, food poisoning, overeating, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and more.

Vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain are a common symptom combination. They often result from gastroenteritis and tend to go away in a few days without the need for professional care.

However, see a doctor if symptoms are severe, persistent, or accompanied by other worrying symptoms. They can stem from more serious issues that require prompt treatment.

Most causes of vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain are treatable as long as a doctor diagnoses and treat them in time.