Gastroenteritis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

What is Gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is a common disorder which is also known as stomach flu. Gastroenteritis is more commonly prevalent in young children. The symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting. The causes can be attacked by microorganisms. gastroenteritis can affect the immunity of the body. It is also capable of producing a fever. In children, it is capable of producing black and watery stools with lethargy & abdominal pain.

How does Gastroenteritis affect the body?

 Viruses that cause gastroenteritis invade the cells lining the stomach and intestine, damaging them and causing fluid to leak. This leads in turn to diarrhea and vomiting, which can then lead to dehydration. Dehydration, the lack of water in the body, causes weakness and causes urination to be infrequent.

What are the causes of Gastroenteritis?

The causes of gastroenteritis can include a number of microorganisms. These are generally bacteria or virus. Rotavirus is the most common virus which causes gastroenteritis in children.

Adults can also suffer from gastroenteritis caused by norovirus. Other sources include contact with contaminated sources, food or water. Unhygienic behavior can also lead to gastroenteritis.

What are the risk factors of Gastroenteritis?

 The risk factors of gastroenteritis can be charted down as below.

  • Age. Infants and young children are at increased risk due to their immature immune systems; the elderly are at increased risk due to weakened immune systems.
  • Anyone with a weakened immune system due to an illness such as HIV/AIDS or cancer, or its treatment (e.g. chemotherapy).
  • Living in crowded areas.
  • Traveling (especially to areas where water and/or food may be contaminated).
  • The risk of getting gastroenteritis is also higher in winter.

What are the symptoms of Gastroenteritis?

The symptoms of gastroenteritis can include the following.

  • It includes dehydration and dryness of the oral cavity of the mouth. It can also cause a lack of water and cause thirstiness.
  • Other symptoms include diarrhoea with frequent visits to the toilet.
  • Gastroenteritis can also cause mild fever in the patient. It is capable of producing lethargy.

What is the diagnosis available?

The diagnosis which can be available for gastroenteritis are given as follows.

  • The doctor will want to know about the medical history, physical examination, blood and stool test of the patient.
  • The samples stool can be checked for the presence of bacteria or virus. The sources should be identified and diminished.

What are the measures for prevention and control?

The measures which can be required to treat gastroenteritis and prevent it are given as follows.

  • Be hygienic, wash your hands properly. Eat thoroughly cooked food.
  • Avoid street food and sources of contamination.
  • Food poisoning should be avoided at all costs.

What are the treatment options available for Gastroenteritis?

These are the treatment options which are available for gastroenteritis. In normal cases, gastroenteritis can only last up to a few days. Therefore, proper rest is required instead of going to the doctor and taking medication. However, you have to contact your doctor if the symptoms refuse to go away or are persistent and severe.

The patient is advised to increase fluid intake. The patient should be admitted to hospital if it is required and IV fluid replacement therapy might be provided in severe cases.

Gastroenteritis – Lifestyle Tips

These are the lifestyle tips available for patients with gastroenteritis.

  • Take rest and increase fluid intake.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Dehydration can lead to arrhythmia which is the irregular beating of the heart.
  • Therefore take caution and avoid contaminated food or drinks.
  • It is advised to stay hygienic.

What are the recommended exercise?

There are no particular recommended exercise for gastroenteritis. Since it is an invasion by foreign microorganisms, it weakens the immune system of the body. Exercising is not recommended during illness. It can cause frequent visits to the toilet. Resume your workout after gastroenteritis is cured or has passed.

What are the interactions with diseases and pregnancy?

These are the interactions with diseases and pregnancy. Conducting gastroenteritis during pregnancy might cause a tricky situation. Therefore contact your doctor in such a case. Do not take external medication and till your advice to do so.

In the case of other diseases, gastroenteritis can sometimes react with bloody ulcerations in the stomach. Take caution if such a case happens. Contact your Healthcare professional in case of Bloody stool.

What are the common complications of Gastroenteritis?

These are the common complications of gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis can cause severe dehydration in the patient. If ignored for a longer period of time, worse will dehydration get.

Other complications can include arrhythmia for the lack of water in the body. Arrhythmia means the heart beats will be irregular.


Q. How long will it take to get over?

 Gastroenteritis can last for a minimum duration of 1 to 3 days.

Q. What is the diet recommended for patients with gastroenteritis?

The diet should comprise of food which is easy to digest.

Q. Can Gastroenteritis be fatal?

Yes, in severe cases it can also be life-threatening. However, such a case should not be ignored. Report to the doctor as soon as possible if severe reactions after.

Q. How long will gastroenteritis be contagious?

It can be contagious up to 12 to 48 hours of incubation.

Q. Can gastroenteritis cause tiredness in the patient?

Since it is a foreign invasion by microorganisms, fever is produced as an immune response. Therefore, gastroenteritis can cause tiredness in the patient.

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