Crohn’s disease or stomach upset?

A stomach upset share similar symptoms with Crohn’s disease. There are various factors that can cause or contribute to stomach upset including parasites, viruses and foodborne illnesses. With this in mind, it is vital to eliminate these factors before the doctor can come up with a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease.

Causes of stomach upset

Stomach upset or gastroenteritis involves the inflammation of the stomach lining and intestines. This is usually caused by a virus but can also be due to parasite or bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella.

In some circumstances, a stomach upset can occur due to an allergic reaction to a certain type of food. It can also occur due to irritation from consumption of too much caffeine or alcohol.

Symptoms linked with stomach upset

  • Traveler’s Diarrhoea

    Stomach upset or gastroenteritis involves the inflammation of the stomach lining and intestines.

    Abdominal cramping or pain

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased bowel movements
  • Chills with or without fever
  • Headache or body ache

Management of stomach upset

Luckily, most cases of stomach upset can be managed without requiring medical care. The treatment is focused on fluid replacement and dietary management. In case the stomach upset is caused by bacteria, antibiotics might be prescribed by a doctor.

Clear liquids

For the initial 24-36 hours of stomach upset, the individual must avoid caffeine, solid foods and alcohol. Make sure that he/she will drink plenty of clear fluids particularly water.

In case vomiting is also present, you have to wait for 1-2 hours before the individual is given a small amount of water to drink or suck on ice chips. If tolerated, provide clear liquids such as ginger ale, clear broth, decaffeinated tea and diluted juices. Do not provide citrus juices. If you will register for first aid training, you can provide relief to the symptoms.


When clear liquids are tolerated, it is best to start with bland foods such as toasted white bread, soda crackers, white rice, boiled potatoes, baked or broiled skinless fish or poultry, applesauce, bananas and cultured dairy products.

In case the symptoms improve after 24-48 hours, the individual can resume a normal diet. Just remember that spicy foods, greasy foods, alcohol, caffeine and non-cultured dairy products must be avoided until the digestive system has fully recovered which takes 1-2 weeks.


In most cases of stomach upset, acetaminophen can be given to manage the symptoms such as headache, fever and body aches. Ibuprofen and aspirin must be avoided since they can worsen the stomach irritation. As for diarrhea, over-the-counter bismuth subsalicylate can be given.

When to worry

If the treatment options were carried out, most of the symptoms of stomach upset subside within 48 hours. If the symptoms persist, Crohn’s disease might be one of the possible conditions to be blamed. The doctor must be consulted if the following symptoms are present along with the stomach upset:

  • Abdominal pain that does not improve after vomiting or bowel movement
  • Diarrhea or vomiting that last for more than 24 hours and occurs more than 3 times in an hour
  • Fever higher than 101 degrees F that does not improve with acetaminophen or accompanied by chills
  • No urine for 8 hours or more
  • Blood-streaked vomit or stool
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Severe dehydration
  • Drainage of pus from the anus
  • Inability to pass gas or complete a bowel movement


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