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Mailbag! Learn How to STOP Painful Cramping and Diarrhea

I always seem to have issues with my stomach and have frequent cramps and diarrhea. What can I do to feel better?

–Renata from White Sulphur Springs, WV


There’s an old saying in medicine that doctors should look for horses before they look for zebras. That is, a doctor should look for something common first and THEN look for the rarer.

It’s advice I firmly believe in, and what I try to practice with patients myself.

So, let’s start with the ordinary first.

Cramps and diarrhea are, for a lot of folks, mostly caused by undigested food.

It works like this: eating a food that the body can’t tolerate means that this food becomes a meal for the bacteria that live in the gut.

Those bacteria then produce gas as they eat, but they also produce other byproducts. Some of those byproducts can irritate the lining of your gut, leading to diarrhea.

And one of the most common trigger foods for many people is dairy.

Milk, cheese, and yogurt contain a sugar called lactose which many people can’t digest as they grow older. When gut bacteria eat lactose, they can produce painful symptoms like cramping and bowel movement issues.

Other foods that can also cause these symptoms include sugary snacks and drinks (soda especially), as well as eggs, broccoli, and onions.

Now, for the “zebras”… or the more rare reasons for digestive issues.

The first is infection, which can be bacterial or viral. Certain medications can also cause these symptoms, as can drinking alcohol.

If the symptoms are occurring daily, it can usually be traced back to medicine or food… but not always.

Stress or chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause digestive issues like cramping and diarrhea. They can also be a sign of ovarian cancer.

If you have a family history of cancer or any other cause for worry, ask your doctor to do a full checkup.

Otherwise, I often suggest my patients try an elimination diet. Start by keeping a food diary for a few days to keep track of what you eat and how you’re feeling. Then, begin by avoiding one trigger food at a time, like dairy or alcohol, to see if your symptoms are related to what you eat.

P.S. Have a health concern that’s worrying you? Click here to submit your questions and get featured in the weekly mailbag!


Dr. Scott Olson, ND

Written By Dr. Scott Olson, ND

Nearly 25 years ago, failed mainstream medical treatments left Dr. Olson in constant pain – and his health in ruins. And that’s when he did something REVOLUTIONARY. He began his career in medicine – and dedicated his life to uncovering the true, underlying causes of disease.
Through his innovative medical practices in Tennessee and Colorado, Dr. Olson has helped cure countless seniors from across America of arthritis… heart disease… diabetes… and even cancer. All without risky prescription drugs or painful surgeries.

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