Diarrhea With Bronchitis


What is bronchitis?

Bronchitis is defined as an inflammation of the main airways (bronchi) of the lungs. Coughing usually produces yellow or greenish mucus. Bronchitis is classified into two types: acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis is characterized by the development of a cough, with or without sputum, that often arises due to a viral infection. Chronic bronchitis is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), in which the bronchi become inflamed and generate excessive mucus, making it difficult for air to enter and exit the lungs and causing coughing.1

Causes and Risk Factors

A number of factors can cause bronchitis, but smoking cigarettes or exposure to secondhand smoke is a significant risk factor for the disease. Other causes of bronchitis include inhaling irritants such as pollutants, smog, and toxic chemicals. Your age is also a risk factor for bronchitis since most symptoms begin after age 40.  A genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency can also make you more likely to get bronchitis. Additionally, a family history of COPD increases the risk of chronic bronchitis in smokers. 

Bacterial and viral infections often cause acute bronchitis, and chronic bronchitis develops after repeated exposure to the infection. Influenza types A and B are the most common causal viruses, whereas Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumonia, and Mycoplasma pneumonia are the most common bacterial agents.2


A hacking cough is the most common symptom of bronchitis. This cough may cause the production of clear, yellow-gray, or greenish mucus (phlegm). Other symptoms include: 

  • a sore throat. 
  • a headache.
  • a runny or clogged nose. 
  • aches and pains.
  • Fatigue and other signs of the common cold or sinusitis.3

Coughing may continue for several weeks after other symptoms of acute bronchitis have gone. Your chest and abdominal muscles may get painful as a result of your constant coughing. Because of swollen airways, some people may have trouble breathing or wheezing. However, chronic bronchitis is more likely to cause these symptoms.


Chronic bronchitis cannot be cured, however, treatments can alleviate the disease's symptoms, slow the disease's progress, and make it easier for you to stay active. There are also treatments for preventing or treating complications of the disease. Treatment options include:

  • Changing your lifestyle, such as giving up smoking if you're a smoker. 
  • Staying away from places where you might be exposed to secondhand smoke or other lung irritants. 
  • Exercise to boost your well-being. 
  • Medicines that ease the muscles around your airways such as bronchodilators. Breathing becomes simpler as it helps in opening up the airways. The majority of bronchodilators are inhaled. The inhaler may also include steroids to control inflammation in more serious situations. 
  • Oxygen treatment, in the event that you have severe chronic bronchitis and low blood oxygen levels. You can improve your breathing using oxygen treatment. 
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation, a treatment plan for those with chronic breathing issues, includes exercise programs, disease management training, psychological counseling, and nutritional counseling.
  • Lung transplants, as a last resort for patients with severe symptoms that have not improved with medication.4

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungus. The air sacs are filled with pus and other fluids during this infection.5

Causes and Risk Factors

There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia. Among the most common kinds of pneumonia are:

  • Bacterial pneumonia. Different bacteria cause this type. Streptococcus pneumonia is by far the most common. It usually occurs when the body is weakened in some way, like by poor nutrition, illness, old age, or a weakened immune system, and the bacteria are able to get into the lungs. Bacterial pneumonia can happen to people of any age. Still, you are more likely to get it if you drink too much, smoke cigarettes, are weak, just had surgery, have a respiratory disease or virus, or have a weak immune system. 
  • Viral pneumonia. This type is caused by a number of viruses, like the flu, and accounts for about one-third of all cases of pneumonia. You might be more likely to get bacterial pneumonia if you have viral pneumonia.
  • Mycoplasma pneumonia. Atypical pneumonia is the term used to describe this variety, which has relatively unusual symptoms and physical signs. Mycoplasma pneumonia is the bacteria that causes it. It usually leads to mild pneumonia that affects people of all ages. 
  • There are also less common types of pneumonia that can be caused by things like fungi or other infections.5

Pneumonia can affect anyone. However, the following groups are more at risk of developing this condition: 

  • People 65 years of age and older.
  • Kids under 2 years of age.
  • Those with certain medical conditions. 
  • Cigarette smokers.5


Pneumonia can cause mild to severe symptoms. Wet coughing, breathing problems, fever, chest discomfort, exhaustion, and disorientation are typical symptoms of pneumonia.6


Treatment for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia, what is causing it, and its severity.7

  • Antibiotics are used to treat several bacterial and fungal infections. They are ineffective against viral pneumonia. 
  • Your doctor may occasionally recommend antiviral medications for viral pneumonia. 
  • Other kinds of fungal pneumonia are treated with antifungal medications. 
  • If you're experiencing severe symptoms or are at high risk for complications, you may need to seek medical care in a hospital. You could receive further treatments there. For instance, you could undergo oxygen treatment if your blood oxygen level is low. 

It could take a while to get over pneumonia. Some individuals recover within a week and some may take longer.7

Having diarrhea with bronchitis means you also have pneumonia.

Diarrhea is not a common symptom for both bronchitis or pneumonia; it is not a definitive sign that you also have pneumonia.8 

How do you consider that you’re having pneumonia and bronchitis?

While bronchitis and pneumonia both include chest inflammation, they are distinct illnesses that occur independently of one another, which means that one does not always cause the other. Bronchitis and pneumonia are two separate conditions, yet it is possible to have both at the same time.9 

However, bronchitis can progress to pneumonia and trigger it. This happens when a secondary infection develops or when the infection spreads from the bronchial tubes to the lungs. Despite the rarity of both scenarios, they tend to occur more frequently in persons with compromised immune systems or other conditions that increase their susceptibility to infection.9

You should see a doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms since they might be an indicator that your bronchitis has progressed into pneumonia: 

  • Chest pain, especially if it appears abruptly and is just on one side, is a typical indicator of pneumonia. 
  • The high temperature lasts a few days. 
  • Blood in mucus. 
  • Shaking chills.
  • Confusion or drowsiness. 
  • Coughing. 
  • Shortness of breath.10

When to seek medical attention?

If your breathing worsens, your cough is bloody, or you have a persistent high fever, gray skin, or nails you should seek medical treatment immediately. If left untreated, complications can arise and become serious. There will be tests done to find out the issue. Get lots of rest, make sure to take the medication exactly as directed, and drink a lot of fluids to help you stay hydrated.11


Bronchitis is an infection that can sometimes lead to pneumonia. While this can be terrifying, the good news is that there are steps you can take to lower your risk and ensure that you are diagnosed if it does occur. Bronchitis and pneumonia are both very easy to treat, especially if you go to the doctor as soon as possible. The quicker you get medical help the quicker you can return to your normal life. 


  1. Butler MW, Keane MP. Bronchitis, bronchiectasis. Infectious Diseases [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2022 Nov 13];243-250.e2. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7150028/ 
  2. Widysanto A, Mathew G. Chronic bronchitis. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 [cited 2022 Oct 20]. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482437/ 
  3. Bronchitis [Internet]. NHS.UK. 2017 [cited 2022 Nov 13]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bronchitis/ 
  4. Lung Transplantation [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 20]. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/lungtransplantation.html 
  5. Pneumonia [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 20]. Available from: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/pneumonia 
  6. Thompson AE. Pneumonia. JAMA [Internet]. 2016 Feb 9 [cited 2022 Nov 13];315(6):626. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2016.0320 
  7. Pneumonia [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 20]. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/pneumonia.html
  8. Kinkade S, Long NA. Acute Bronchitis. American Family Physician [Internet]. 2016 Oct 1 [cited 2022 Oct 20];94(7):560–5. Available from: https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2016/1001/p560.html 
  9. Acute bronchitis: Overview [Internet]. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2020 [cited 2022 Oct 20]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK458291/ 
  10. Pneumonia - Symptoms | NHLBI, NIH [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 20]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/pneumonia/symptoms 
  11. Bronchitis - bronchitis | NHLBI, NIH [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 20]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/bronchitis
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Hana Hailu

Master's degree, Brain Science, University of Glasgow

Hana Hailu is an accomplished academic with a strong foundation in the field of brain science and pharmacology. She is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Brain Science from the prestigious University of Glasgow (2021-2022). Prior to this, Hana earned her Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in Applied Pharmacology from Queen Margaret University, where she studied from September 2017 to September 2021. With her deep knowledge and dedication, Hana is poised to make significant contributions to the world of neuroscience and pharmacology.

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