Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It is usually caused by bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection. Its symptoms usually start within 1-2 days after infection. Common symptoms of gastroenteritis include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhoea
  • Watery stool
  • Low-grade fever
  • Fatigue

In some cases, gastroenteritis may cause severe, life-threatening symptoms such as dehydration, shock, gastrointestinal bleeding or severe ulcerative colitis.

Treatment Guidelines

Treatment for gastroenteritis depends on its cause as follows:

  • Bacterial gastroenteritis is usually caused by Helicobacter pylori infection. This bacterial infection is usually treated with antibiotics. The antibiotics most commonly used are as follows:
    • Amoxicillin
    • Clarithromycin
    • Metronidazole
  • Viral gastroenteritis is usually caused by Norovirus or Rotavirus infection. The patient’s symptoms usually improve within 1-2 days. The doctor may prescribe some medicines to relieve symptoms, such as antiemetics, antidiarrheals, and antipyretics.
  • Parasitic gastroenteritis is usually caused by the Giardia or Cryptosporidia. To treat this parasite infection, doctors typically prescribe antibiotics. Antibiotics commonly used to treat giardia parasitic infections include:
    • Fluoroquinolones
    • Aminoglycosides

Patients suffering from gastroenteritis should also make sure they get enough sleep, stay hydrated, and consume bland, easy-to-digest food such as soup and rice porridge.

Prevention of Gastroenteritis

Viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections, the causes of gastroenteritis, can be prevented by following these suggestions.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid eating potentially contaminated food or water
  • Thoroughly cook your food
  • Keep your food at the right temperature
  • Avoid eating food that has been left out too long

If you experience symptoms of gastroenteritis, you should consult a doctor immediately to receive the right treatment.

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From Bangkok Hospital Phuket