What Are the Causes of Diarrhea With Flatulence?

Diarrhea is characterized 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 diarrhea. There are many potential causes of diarrhea with flatulence, some of which can lead to serious complications.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is characterized by an inability to digest and absorb the milk sugar lactose 1. Diarrhea and flatulence are among the chief symptoms of lactose intolerance, according to MedicineNet.com 1. Other symptoms may include bloating, nausea or abdominal pain.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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Inflammatory bowel diseases, or IBDs, are a group of autoimmune conditions involving chronic inflammation in the digestive tract. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease and diverticulitis fall under this heading. In addition to flatulence and diarrhea, 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 diarrhea accompanied by excessive gas or flatulence.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome refers to a collection of symptoms rather than a disease 3. Diarrhea and flatulence are common symptoms of IBS, as are bloating, abdominal distention 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 EMedicineHealth.com.


In rare cases, diarrhea can lead to life-threatening complications like dehydration. If you experience diarrhea accompanied by a fever of more than 102 degrees, vomiting, fainting or blood in the stool, seek immediate medical attention.