Avatar universal

Stomach Cramp, Diarrhea, sweating , light headedness and fainting

I have experienced on 4 occasions in the last 6 years a rather weird Diarrhoea attack which really is painful and scary. Here is a description of what occurs.

1. Sudden abdominal pain which increases in intensity over a short time. The same sensation one might get when they are about to get Diarrhoea.

2. I go to the toilet and try excreting whatever wants to come out. However after about a minute of sitting there with nothing coming out I suddenly few light headed and am starting to get a dizzy spell like I am about to faint and my breathing weakens.

3. This borderline fainting sensation lasts for about another minute before I break out into a sudden sweat all over my body. Within a few seconds I have sweat literally pouring out of me, my clothes are wet as if I ran a marathon or something.

4. After a minute of sweating I suddenly feel something coming out of my rear end. I try to squeeze it out and only a hard stool comes out.

5. The sweating stops and the stomach cramp subsides. I think everything is over and I clean up. I walk out of the toilet and in about 2 minutes time the stomach cramp and the fainting sensation comes back (I've fainted only once to date from this and was out for about 15-20 minutes).

6. When I get back to the toilet I have a really violent Diarrhoea episode in pure liquid state. It takes a few minutes to subside and once I
940 Responses
191241 tn?1244391781
I get something like this too...but I have LOTS of intestinal problems...and namely...I also had my gallbladder taken out about 10 years ago....I get "attacks" where I have SEVERE pain in the midle of my gut (triggered by pain meds.....wine....greasy food...and ????) I get VERY pale...sweat PROFUSELY, drool and then either vomit....have watery stools, fart or....if I'm REALLY unlucky....suffer from these WAVES of pain, vaso-vagal(?) type symptoms for HOURS until they subside...sometimes hycosamine will work...sometimes 4 tums...and once and a while nothing but time cures it.....I have been told IBS....and intestinal intussusuption (found on two CT scans)diverticulitis...then I started to read up on Sphinter of Oddi syndrome...and it was like I was reading stories NOT from others suffering from it...but like I had written them myself....I get yellow stools and burning bile that backs up into my system and causes complete HAVOC....

All I can say is good luck to you....in 20 years, I have seen about 15 MD's and ALL of them have different opinions....and MOST of them tried to tell me it was "all in my head"
Avatar universal
I've suffered from a severe case of IBS (Irritable Bowel) for most of my life, and have had cases such as this happen to me often. It may or may not be related to some form of allergy. You should contact a specialist (gastro-intestinal), and please be sure to drink water, for the diarrhea and sweating can dangerously dehydrate you. It may also be the case of why you get so dizzy. Another thing I found that helped was being sure to lay down in a fetal position after the pain subsides, though I'm sure there is a much better way to deal with it.

I do hope what I said helps you, take care.
Avatar universal
Hi, I relate to a lot of what you said, I have never fainted, but all the rest applies and I have nausea with it, though am not actually sick. My understanding is like Kiesh said, that it's IBS. Although, I'm never sure if the sweating part is a result of coping with the pain, or if it's my body sweating out something that I'm allergic or intolerant to. If it's an allergy (for me) I think it might be to MSG, if it's an intolerance (again for me) at the moment I'm thinking it's to very fatty foods. It's always worse when I'm stressing about something. Does any of that apply to you? You can get IBS tabs over the counter (we can here in UK anyway). Or you might want to try testing out foods to see if you are allergic/intolerant. It's a pain to do this (I keep meaning to, but haven't yet). You have to keep a diary of everything you eat and how you feel each day. Then eat very bland food for, say a month. Next introduce whatever you want to test for. If it brings on the symptoms, you've probably found the cause. If not, add something else into your diet to test for that. But also, if you haven't already, do get some medical advice to rule out  the nasties. The odds are very much that it's not anything really scary, but you definitely should check to make sure. My doctor told me that approx 25% of people have IBS. Wishing you well. Louise
Avatar universal
I too have fainted during an onset of severe cramps.  I usually squirm on the bathroom floor and then I start sweating and then I wake up about 20 min later on the bathroom floor.  It is unimagineable pain that I am in and it is always a scarey experience when I am about to faint.  It is nice to hear that I am not the only one that experiences this.. Alicia
That happens to me bout once a yr really weird when it happens i start feeling this wierdness with my stomach like i have to go the bathroom i start sweating bad and feels like i can pass out and moment i fight it so bad but ive laid on bathroom floor until i wake up but all better
Avatar universal
This is a simple vasovagal reaction. It happens to many people when they have any kind of gastrointestinal upset, because  it stimulates the vagal nerve. It's the most common cause of fainting, and some people experience it nearly every time they have a bowel movement (bummer)! You can see my explanation to Trika (drinking water causes unconsciousness) for a complete explanation of how vasovagal reactions happen. Basically, though, your gastrointestinal upset +/- the valsalva pushing (holding one's breath and bearing down) are both adequate to stimulate the vagus nerve which causes an immediate drop in blood pressure and heart rate. The result? A drop in blood supply everywhere - including the brain - which causes a sudden loss of consciousness. Once our head is lower down (eg. on the bathroom floor!) it's easier for blood to get there thanks to gravity, and we regain consciousness.

Since the diarrhea attacks are pretty infrequent, I wouldn't worry too much about them. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that there's a clue in what you describe - you pass hard stool first, and then a few minutes later, have diarrhea. This can happen with people who are transiently constipated - there's a hard stool blocking the passage of everything else and your body will suffer excruciating cramps in an attempt to "move it along." Then, once the "obstacle" is passed, you'll have a bout of diarrhea, which may have resulted from the colon secreting fluid in an attempt to soften and pass the "obstruction."

Hopefully that makes these "mystery" bouts less mysterious!


Avatar universal
I was just looking to find out more about this same thing on the internet and found this site.  About 4 times a year I get stomach cramps that cause me to start sweating, intense diarrhea...the pain gets so severe, it makes me want to vomit. Often I find walking around or getting up and down helps the bowels to move and then I am fine; however, once, about 10 years ago, I passed out face first in the bathroom and woke up later. Then, just two days ago, another episode and fainting spell.  Unfortunately, I went head first and split open my nose, and now have a puffy lip and somewhat of black eyes.  But, I do find that it may be after a stressful event and I was probably constipated and finally relaxed and/or I have eaten some rich foods.  My husband suggested to take deep breaths more, and not hold my breath.  I just don't want it to happen where I hurt myself again, more serious, and no one is around.
Avatar universal
Thanks Jr for the explanation.  I just experienced the symptoms you described yesterday.  After having lunch at a spicy/greasy chinese restaurant, I had a severe stomach cramp 1st, then felt dizzy and passed out in a grocery. I remembered I went in a nice dream for very short time then became concious again.  I went to the bathroom and had soft stool.  My blood pressure was so low that ambulance came and sent me to ER.  After waiting for a doctor for more than 1 hour without anyone showing up, I decided to be discharged.  I was a little bit concern for my decision to leave, after reading your post, appears something not to be worried.  Thanks for the explanation.
Avatar universal
I to came across this site looking for answers. I have had this problem for almost 20 yrs and don't know what to do. It mostly comes on in stressful times but not always. I can eat a small amount or a large amount of food. Within the hour of eating and with about a 3 minute warning my stomach bloats up with gas. I go to the bathroom immediately have diarrhea. My ears get hot and ring, I start to sweat. the pain in my stomach is so intense the next thing I know I'm on the floor with someone slapping me to wake up. I don't know what to call it - Fainting or a sezure. When I'm out I feel like I'm shaking but my husband says I'm not.  I do have constipation but not when this happens.  I could have this 2 to 3 times a year or a few years could go by. Whenever, this is very scary and it drains me the rest of the day. What can be done? Help  ---- Sandra
Avatar universal
Exactly what you described happens to me maybe 2-3 times per year.  I went on line trying to find some answers too. It always seems to happen at night.  I've found the best way to avoid passing out is to stay in bed with my head down and my knees bent under me until the sweating and "burning up" part passes and then I am able to make it to the toilet after that. I don't know what triggers these episodes other than the fact that I usually haven't eaten very well that day (i.e lots of fatty foods etc.)  I never thought about the possibility that it was caused by constipation.  That might be something to thing about.  It certainly feels like my body is just completely rejecting something and doing whatever it takes to get rid of it.  It's nice to know I'm not the only one who has this happen to them!
Avatar universal
I have started fainting around I was 6 yrs. started w/ playing& headaches & as I got older it came w/ cramps & now for the last 12yr is happens when I get diarrhea. If it happen in the middle of the night I can promise that I will faint.
2 nights ago I awoke in extreme pain. Went to the BR where a fainted w/ in sec of sitting down. When I can to, I could feel pressure. I sat back down & the movement started. I could feel my self getting ready to faint again. so I laid my upper body on top of a hamper. the 1st movement was very solid & as every movement happen it became softer until almost water. @ this point I looked as if I had just ran 20 miles I had sweat running down my body & was physical exhausted. Now if the diarrhea happen in the time while I'm awake. I will get physical sick & vomit.. I'm a 35 yrs Female 62 bpm heart rate.
Avatar universal
I just had a bad episode last night.  I usually experience it 2x a year for several years now.  I relate my symptoms to eating a certain bad cheese.  last night was the worse of all.  It seems like it was longer and it really scared me.  I have to call my husband and have him hold me up.  He said I was so pail, the only thing that's preventing me from passing out is him talking to me.  I spoke to my Mom before and she told me that my Dad has the same problem and he also had episodes of passing out.  Since my Dad lived in another country I didnt have the chance to talk to him about this.  I already had colonoscopy done a few years ago and nothing was wrong.  
517443 tn?1211667451
i just had a bout at around 3am this saturday morning...i had felt this harsh pain, like gas regurgitating (sp?), from my throat into a burp in days leading up to this morning. I eat alot of spicy foods, drink coffee, and consume alcohol regularly, so i think it might have to do with these foods that trigger my stomach to want to throw it up but instead end up having a hard stool followed by liquidy diarrhea along with POURING sweat...

does everyone here eat the foods and liquids i mentioned as part a a regular diet? just wondering...thanks in advance for any response
519575 tn?1212079035
In your first post...that is just how I feel everyday!!! Today I went back to my docotrs...well they did a blood test last week, and I got the results today! I have Peptic Ulcer Disease...they do a bllod test to see if you have the bacteria H Pylori and mine was positive!

Just something for you to look into! I wish you all the luck in the world! I know how horrible it is in to live with all those symptoms! I suffered for 3 years till today! I only pray that this will end it all for me!!?

Avatar universal
I have experience the exact same thing on and off for years! Its so scary isn't it?! I am so relieved  to hear that its a real condition and I am not going mad! I must admit Chinese food is often associated with this for me so the MSG thing is a real possibility. Stress and dehydration is also a common denominator. I think we just don't look after ourselves and pay enough attention to our diet which is difficult to do these days.
Stress busting and healthy eating is the way forward!

Avatar universal
Wow, this is unreal.  I had exactly the same thing happen to me last week, just exactly as you described it (except no hard stool--just diarrhea). The same thing also happened to me 10 yrs ago, after I ate some fish; I thought at the time maybe the fish was bad, but now that the same exact thing happened again, I know it wasn't food poisoning. I do get diarrhea with bad cramps maybe 4 or 5 times a month, but not to the extent of fainting. Both times the fainting/diarrhea attack happened to me, I had just finished eating. The diarrhea lasted about 3-4 days, with some minor rectal bleeding. Also, I've noticed that when I get the "milder" diarrhea attacks, they're usually in the morning, anywhere from 5 min. to an hour after drinking my morning cup of coffee, or after eating lunch. I don't have any major health problems other than this!
Avatar universal
I too can relate to your story. Not just an hr ago I went through this same thing: stomach cramps and nausea; light headed, turned pale, I got really hot all over sweating from head to toe; loss in blood pressure that I couldn’t even hold my head up, felt like I would pass out; severe stomach cramps and liquid diarrhea, in my case there was no hard stool. I have experienced this problem probably 5 or 6 times in my life and I am 46. Difference today is that I did not eat a thing all day, only 3 cups of coffee over a 2 hr period and this episode occured around noon. In the past I some times felt like vomiting, but today I did not. After it subsided I had to lay down for an hr only for it to begin all over again, but this time not as bad. I was diagnosed last yr with a hiatal hernia and was prescribed Nexium twice a day. This is hereditary unfortunately. I just have to watch what I eat. I had forgotten to take my Nexium today.  I really believe it's a diet thing, watch your intake, don’t abuse it.
Avatar universal
I have this something similar happen to me after an intense workout. If I go to the gym and run on the treadmill or do the elliptical it wont happen. But if I play in a soccer game, which is a lot more intense, then it happens consistently. During the game I dont sweat much...I would say a normal amount. But when I am done playing, my back/chest/stomach area sweat profusely all night long. Only those areas though. Not my face or lower body at all. I take a shower-have even tried cold showers and I still soak the bed everytime. I have to sleep with towels wrapped around my upper body and change them every 30 minutes because they get soaked so quickly. Sometimes I also have stomach cramps along with this. Sometimes bad and sometimes not that bad. If I have a bowel movement right before playing or dont eat anything the whole day(which is also dangerous), it doesnt happen. I dont know what could be wrong with me but it very annoying and sometimes scary.
Avatar universal
Go for a WALK immediately upon onset of symptoms. The movement massages the gut, aiding the elimination process. It won't eliminate the pain (though sometimes it helps) but it helps the body get over the ordeal faster. At least it does for me.

Of course, if you feel faint, STAY PUT and sit or lie down, preferably in a carpeted room (not a concrete floor, like I've passed out on before).

I too have found that eating greasy food sometimes precipitates an episode.
Avatar universal
I too have suffered the same symptoms for the last 25 years. No doctor has been able to diagnose it. It seems that my body is trying to lose as much liquid as possible through intense sweating and extreme diarrhoea  I think that the very painful cramps and feignting are a result of the water loss. Usually, if I can recognise the attack soon enough I can head off the worse by drinking a lot of water very quickly. This morning, 2am, I had the most severe attack yet. So bad I had my wife call 911. The problem is that the docs never get to witness the attack. The doc in the hospital was convinced it was gastro entiritis (sp?).
I am encouraged to hear that my symptoms are not unique, but a little dissappointed that there seems to be no known condition and thus management of it. I read the reference to vasovagal reaction, but after reviewing many websites on the topic do not see that much similarity to our symptoms. I found the same to be true for IBS.
If anyone discovers anymore on this condition, please share.
Avatar universal
Check out Acute Pancreatitis. A lot of the symptoms are similar. I am awaiting results of blood tests. Will update once I have more info.
Avatar universal
I just had this happen to me at 6:30 AM this morning.  It was so scary.  I had this once last year, but I was in Lebanon and I thought it was because I drank some of their water and it was a virus or something, but it happened again.  I don't eat badly.  I stay pretty healthy.  I did have Chinese food last week, but nothing too greasy.  In Lebanon I didn't have any greasy foods.  It was all very healthy and I still had these symptoms.  I seriously thought I was dying.  It's nice to know that I'm not alone, but the circumstances are terrible.  I was sweating so badly and I just rested my head on the bathroom wall because I was so weak.  I hope there is a cure for this some how, but it doesn't happen that often.  
Avatar universal
went through this episode where I had the exact same symptons, fainted, profuse sweating, gastro upset. passed out three times.  this happened three months before with out the passing out. This time heart was racing,blood pressure low. couldn't call 911 if I wanted to.  couldnt get off bathroom floor for an hour or so. Went to emergency room..long story short..this episode had possibly damaged my heart and the heart attack enzyme was elevated. i had a murmur surgically repaired 27 years ago and now doctors are saying that there could be electrical problems to the heart,etc.......wanted to keep me in hospital to do a catherization that would check heart electrical impulses but i convinced my primary doc to let me do it on a outpatient basis...scary stuff
Avatar universal
I have had these symptoms since i can remember and I'm so relieved i have found this site so i now know other people suffer from this and its not just me. Cramps, Dizzy, Fainting, Sweaty, Loose Bowel Movement and often beeing sick. a couple of times i have fainted and have been shaking whilst passed out. It feels like I'm about to die. Some times i can't speak cos my tongue has gone funny and my hands are stuck in the same position. These attacks can last up to 20 minutes, they are so exhausting all i want to do is sleep after an attack. I have woken up in the night to go to the loo and pass out. The doctor doesn't seem to no what it is and the last doctor i saw said it was just me and my body and its somthing that i do. Lately they have been happening more frequently, Ive had 6 attacks since December 07. it is really quite scary and i would love to find a cure.
Avatar universal
I ended up in ER..took me about 5 hours after resting to have the strength to even go there.  Look up vaso vagal syncope  in my case they think it was neurocardiogenic syncope. I am going for tests. When I got home from hospital I noteived I had two bruises on my head where I had passed out in bathroom.Feels like the end is near when this happens but if you are relatively healthy your body has that mechanism in place to get you low to the ground fast so you can get blood to your brain..SEE A NEW DOCTOR..Go in educated. I had four doctors from the ER to a primary to a cardiologist and they want to do more tests..sounds llike you need that too..
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