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Sore Throat and Diarrhea

Updated: May 6

Sore Throat and Diarrhea Vector.

Sore throat and diarrhea seem unrelated but can surprise many. In this guide, we explore their causes, home remedies, and ways to manage them. Let's understand what causes these discomforts and how to deal with them.

What is a Sore Throat?

A sore throat is when your throat hurts, feels scratchy, or gets irritated, especially when you swallow. It can happen because of viruses, bacteria, things in the air that irritate your throat, or other health issues.

What is Diarrhea?

Diarrhea means having loose, watery poop more often than normal. It happens when your intestines don't soak up enough water from your poop, making it more watery. Infections, food poisoning, and some health problems can cause diarrhea. If it lasts a long time, you might get dehydrated, which means your body doesn't have enough water.

What Can Cause a Sore Throat and Diarrhea Together?


Influenza viruses, which cause the flu, bring many symptoms. Along with fever, cough, headache, and body aches, they can also make your throat sore. Sometimes you can also get stomach problems like feeling sick, throwing up, and diarrhea.

Adenovirus Infection

Adenoviruses, often tied to breathing problems, do more than that. They can act like the flu, but symptoms might show up late, between 2 to 14 days. They might also cause diarrhea and make your intestines inflamed.


COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, can show up in different ways. Besides cough, fever, and shortness of breath, it can also give you a sore throat and diarrhea. This makes it more complicated to identify.

Common Cold

The common cold, caused by rhinoviruses, often starts with a sore throat. Although diarrhea isn't common, it can sometimes happen during a cold.


Noroviruses cause what we know as the stomach flu. Symptoms show up 12–48 hours after exposure and include diarrhea, vomiting, and belly pain. Surprisingly, these symptoms can indirectly cause a sore throat due to dehydration and vomiting.

Stomach flu (Viral Gastroenteritis)

The stomach flu is not like the flu. It's caused by viruses that affect the stomach and intestines. It can cause diarrhea and sometimes throat discomfort.

Strep Throat

Strep throat, known for causing a sore throat, typically doesn't involve diarrhea. But things change when antibiotics are involved, which can sometimes lead to stomach issues as a side effect.

Food Allergies

Food allergies can make you feel tingly, swell up, and give you diarrhea. It shows that our bodies react in different ways to different allergens.

Food Poisoning and Acute Gastritis

Food poisoning often causes diarrhea and vomiting, which can lead to a sore throat. Acute gastritis, where your stomach lining gets inflamed, can also bring diarrhea and may make your throat feel sore if you vomit.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is all about diarrhea. Studies also say IBS might be linked to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which adds more to the story and might affect your throat.


Continuous diarrhea can make you dehydrated. This can make your throat dry and uncomfortable, which is a new issue in how our bodies react.

Mixed Causes

Sometimes, having a sore throat and diarrhea can come from different reasons. It shows how the body reacts to various infections.

Sore Throat and Diarrhea Alongside Other Symptoms

  • Fever: Both a sore throat and diarrhea can come with a fever. Fever is a common way the body fights infections, showing that it's trying to beat the illness.

  • Fatigue: When the body fights infections, it can make you feel tired. Dealing with stomach issues can also drain your energy. That's why fatigue often comes with a sore throat and diarrhea.

  • Body Aches and Muscle Pain: Muscle aches and pains all over the body can be strong, especially in viral infections like the flu. They add to the discomfort when you have a sore throat and diarrhea.

  • Headache: Infections often cause headaches. When you have a sore throat and diarrhea, headaches may get worse.

  • Nausea and Vomiting: When you have a sore throat and diarrhea together, you might also feel sick and throw up. This shows that your stomach is also affected.

  • Respiratory Symptoms: Respiratory infections, like sore throats, might make you cough, feel stuffy, or have a runny nose. Sometimes, you might also have stomach problems at the same time.

  • Dehydration: Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, a condition marked by symptoms such as increased thirst, dry mouth, and reduced urine output.

  • Swollen Lymph Nodes: Diarrhea can make you dehydrated. Signs include feeling thirsty, having a dry mouth, and peeing less. It's important to drink enough fluids to stay hydrated.

Diagnosing the Underlying Cause

1. Medical History and Symptoms Assessment

The first thing doctors do to diagnose is talk about your medical history and symptoms. They want to know when your sore throat and diarrhea started, how long they've been going on, and how they've been changing. This helps figure out what might be causing them.

2. Physical Examination

  • Throat Examination: The doctors look closely at your throat to see if it's red, inflamed, or has white patches. This could mean you have a bacterial infection like strep throat.

  • Abdominal Assessment: Doctors will see if your belly feels tender, bloated, or shows any signs of stomach problems. This helps them understand what might be going on.

3. Laboratory Tests

  • Throat Cultures: If the symptoms point to a bacterial infection like strep throat, the doctor might do a throat swab to find out which germ is causing the problem.

  • Stool Analysis: To find out what's causing your diarrhea, the doctors might ask for a sample of your stool to check for germs like bacteria, viruses, or parasites.

  • Blood Tests: Blood tests can help find out if there are too many white blood cells or certain antibodies in your blood, which can tell if the problem is caused by a virus or bacteria.

4. Imaging Studies

Sometimes, doctors might want to take X-rays of your chest, especially if you're having trouble breathing along with a sore throat and diarrhea. This helps them make sure you don't have pneumonia or other serious problems.

5. Viral Testing

If your doctor thinks you might have a virus like the flu or COVID-19, they might do some tests to check. These tests, like PCR or rapid antigen tests, can quickly show if you have certain viruses, like the flu or adenovirus. Getting quick results helps doctors figure out what's wrong faster.

6. Allergy Testing

If the doctor thinks you might have allergies, they might suggest doing allergy testing. This helps find out what's causing your symptoms. It's important to know so you can avoid those things in the future.

7. Gastrointestinal Evaluations

If you have long-term stomach problems like IBS or IBD, your doctor might want to do some special tests to see what's going on inside your stomach. These tests can help them look closely at your digestive system to figure out the problem.

8. Evaluation of Dehydration

If you're getting dehydrated from lots of diarrhea, doctors might check your electrolytes with a blood test and suggest ways to rehydrate you.

9. Psychological Assessment

Stress and anxiety can make physical symptoms worse. Doctors might check your mental health to see if stress is making your sore throat and diarrhea worse.

10. Consultation with Specialists

In complex cases, consultations with specialists, such as gastroenterologists, allergists, or infectious disease experts, may be sought for a more specialized assessment.

Sore Throat and Diarrhea Treatment

Home Remedies

For Sore Throat:

  • Gargle with Warm Saltwater: Rinsing your throat with warm saltwater can help calm it down and lessen swelling.

  • Throat Lozenges: Throat lozenges can give you temporary relief from a sore throat when you suck on them.

  • Hydration: Drink plenty of fluids, including warm teas and broths, to keep the throat moist.

  • Humidifier Use: Using a humidifier can help add moisture to the air and ease dry throat symptoms.

  • Rest: Taking enough rest helps your body heal better.

For Diarrhea:

  • Fluid Intake: Drink plenty of water, electrolyte drinks, and clear broths to keep yourself hydrated.

  • BRAT Diet: Incorporate bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast to help firm up stools.

  • Avoid Irritants: Avoid eating spicy, greasy, or dairy-rich foods that might irritate your throat.

  • Probiotics: Try eating yogurt or taking probiotic supplements to help balance your gut.

Medical Treatment

For Sore Throat:

  • Over-the-counter Medications: You can use over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help ease sore throat pain.

  • Prescription Medications: Antibiotics may be prescribed for bacterial infections like strep throat.

  • Throat Sprays or Lozenges: Throat sprays or lozenges with numbing agents can help soothe your throat.

For Diarrhea:

  • Antidiarrheal Medications: Medicines like loperamide that you can buy without a prescription can help stop diarrhea.

  • Prescription Medications: If your diarrhea is really bad or won't go away, the doctor might suggest stronger medicines you need a prescription for.

  • Intravenous Fluids: If someone's in danger of getting dehydrated, especially if it's serious, they might need fluids given directly into their veins.

Sore Throat and Diarrhea Prevention

1. Hand Hygiene: Washing your hands often with soap and water helps prevent getting sick from viruses and bacteria.

2. Respiratory Hygiene: When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose to stop germs from spreading to others.

3. Vaccinations: Make sure you get all your shots, including the flu shot, to avoid getting sick.

4. Dietary Awareness: Be careful with what you eat to avoid getting sick from food. Know your food allergies and avoid eating foods that can make you sick.

5. Probiotics: Adding probiotics to your diet can make your stomach stronger and help prevent stomach problems.

6. Stress Management: Doing things like exercise and relaxation to help reduce stress.

7. Environmental Precautions: Avoiding things like smoke and pollution to keep your lungs healthy.

8. Regular Exercise: Do exercises regularly to make your immune system stronger and improve your health overall.

When to See a Doctor

Knowing when to see a doctor for both a sore throat and diarrhea is important. If the symptoms stick around for more than a few days, get worse, or if you have severe pain, a high fever, or signs of dehydration, it's a good idea to talk to a healthcare provider. Also, if you notice any worrying signs like blood in your stool, trouble breathing, or if you keep throwing up, it's important to get help right away. This is especially true if you have other health issues, a weakened immune system, have traveled recently, or are a child or an older adult.

If you're still feeling unwell or have worries about your health, get in touch with our team of skilled doctors at Center One Medical in Sarasota, Florida. We're here to help you feel better. Contact us and book an appointment today to get the personalized care you need to stay healthy.


While many viral infections are mild for those with strong immune systems, it's important to seek medical help promptly if you have severe symptoms like a high fever or trouble breathing. When dealing with problems like a sore throat and diarrhea together, it's vital to understand what's happening and get help when needed. This is key to staying healthy and feeling well.


1. What viruses can cause both sore throat and diarrhea?

  • Different viruses like the flu, adenoviruses, coronaviruses, and noroviruses can cause both a sore throat and diarrhea at the same time.

2. Is diarrhea a common symptom of the flu and common cold?

  • Yes, the flu from influenza viruses and the common cold from rhinoviruses can show up with symptoms like diarrhea along with the usual sore throat.

3. How can food allergies contribute to sore throat and diarrhea?

  • Food allergies, which can cause different reactions, can lead to both sore throat and diarrhea as part of their symptoms.

4. When should I seek professional medical advice for sore throat and diarrhea?

  • It's advisable to contact a doctor if sore throat or diarrhea persists beyond a week, blood appears in the stool, or signs of dehydration become evident.

5. What are the recommended home remedies for managing a sore throat and diarrhea?

  • Home remedies for a sore throat include honey, gargling warm salt water, chamomile tea, and peppermint oil sprays. To manage diarrhea, drink lots of fluids, try probiotics, and eat foods like bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.

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