All About Gastroenteritis | Get Best Treatment at Medicover

Gastroenteritis, also called gastro or infectious diarrhoea is due to inflammation or infection of the gastrointestinal tract, which comprises the stomach and intestine. Many people also refer to it as a “stomach bug”, “stomach virus”, or “stomach flu”, but it is not influenza. Although most individuals complain of a painful stomach, it can also include small intestines and colon.


Gastroenteritis symptoms

The stomach infection symptoms include

  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Painful stomach
  • Diarrhoea
  • Blood in the stools
  • Pus in the stools
  • Weakness
  • Body aches
Gastroenteritis Symptoms

Causes and Risks factors

There are various gastroenteritis causes based on etiology, including

  • Bacteria : Campylobacter bacterium
  • Viruses : Norovirus, rotavirus, calicivirus, adenovirus and astrovirus.
  • Parasites : Entamoeba histolytica, Cryptosporidium and Giardia lamblia
  • Bacterial toxins : Bacterial micro-organisms themselves are not responsible for causing diseases, but the bacterial poisonous by-products can result in contaminated food. Specific staphylococcal bacterial strains generate toxins that can give rise to gastroenteritis.
  • Chemicals : Lead poisoning can induce gastroenteritis
  • Medications : Few medications, for example - antibiotics can trigger gastroenteritis.

Diagnosis of Gastroenteritis

Your doctor will record your medical history, ask for symptoms and past travelling history. He may further recommend some tests to find out the underlying cause. The gastroenteritis diagnosis is done as follows

Diagnosis of viral gastroenteritis

  • Stool electron microscopy
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR test)
  • Enzyme-linked immunoassay (Elisa test)
  • Latex agglutination test

Diagnosis of Bacterial gastroenteritis

  • Microscopy
  • Stool culture
  • Biochemical reactions
  • Serological typing
  • Sigmoidoscopy

Treatment of Gastroenteritis

The treatment depends on the cause of the infection. The treatment usually followed is

  • Drink plenty of fluids and oral rehydration drinks
  • Hospital admission and intravenous fluid replacement, are required in critical cases.
  • Antibiotics for bacterial gastroenteritis
  • Antiparasitic drugs for infections by parasites
  • Refrain from taking anti-vomiting or anti-diarrhoea drugs because these medicines will keep the infection inside the body. These drugs should be taken as per the doctor's prescription only.

Prevention of Gastroenteritis

  • Proper hand-washing with soap and water after using the toilet or changing baby's nappies, after tobacco smoking and after handling animals.
  • Do not use raw and cooked foods with the kitchen appliances unless they have been properly washed after each use.
  • Breastfeeding babies instead of using substitute milk formula
  • Keep all kitchen surfaces, utensils and appliances clean.
  • Store cold food below 5 °C to keep it cool and keep hot food hot above 60 °C to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Take care food is entirely cooked.
  • Keep the toilet and bathroom clean.
  • When travelling to other countries where sanitation is a problem, only drink purified bottled water.
  • Prefer eating foods from restaurants that are cleanly maintained

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does gastroenteritis last?

Gastroenteritis often only lasts one or two days, but on rare occasions, they could extend to 14 days. Due to their similar symptoms, parasitic diarrhea like giardiasis and diarrhea brought on by bacteria like Clostridium difficile, salmonella, and Escherichia coli are often confused with viral diarrhea.

2. What is the best treatment for gastroenteritis?

Best treatment for your Oral rehydration drinks from your nearby pharmacy. Better to join the hospital quickly to get better treatment and intravenous fluid replacement in severe cases.

3. What are the primary signs of gastroenteritis?

You might have diarrhea, stomach pain or cramps, nausea and/or vomiting many times in a short period.