Symptoms depend on the cause and how long the condition has been present, among other factors. The condition usually starts suddenly, sometimes with a loss of appetite, nausea, cramping and growling or rumbling sounds from gas moving through the intestines and diarrhea. If there has been too much loss of fluids, dehydration, headaches, irritability and shock may occur. Other signs include muscle aches, weakness and feeling sick.
Causes and Risk Factors
Although the cause is not always identified, some possibilities include:
- Intestinal parasites
- Chemical toxins found in plants, seafood or contaminated food
- Ingesting heavy metals (such as arsenic, lead, mercury or cadmium)
- Drugs that alter the digestive system