Gastroenteritis is a relatively common illness affecting the digestive system. But what are its symptoms? Are abdominal pain and vomiting without fever included? This article will list all the common symptoms of this condition.
What is Gastroenteritis?
Before discussing the symptoms of gastroenteritis, it’s important to define what it is. To put it simply, gastroenteritis is the inflammation of the stomach and the intestines. The inflammation can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Aside from infections, there are other causes too of inflammation in the digestive system.
Gastroenteritis is more commonly known as stomach flu and it is quite common around the world. It is quite contagious and it can easily spread by close contact with infected persons or through the consumption of food or fluids that are contaminated.
Because of the nature of this illness, it can easily spread in places like:
- Daycare centers
- Nursing homes
- Cruise ships
In any place where people spend a great deal of time in close proximity to each other, there is a good chance that this disease can spread. Proper hygiene can reduce the chances of getting this illness. Proper washing of hands after using the bathroom and cleaning uncooked food thoroughly are best practices that should be followed.
What are the Symptoms of Gastroenteritis?
As you may have noticed, gastroenteritis is a non-specific term that applies to the inflammation of parts of the digestive system. As mentioned, there are different causes of inflammation. The symptoms may depend on the cause of gastroenteritis.
Here are the more common symptoms that you should be aware of:
Diarrhea is typically a symptom of gastroenteritis that is caused by a viral infection. It is normally accompanied by abdominal pain and when it becomes severe, it can lead to dehydration. There are two kinds of diarrhea and are absolute diarrhea and relative diarrhea.
Absolute diarrhea means there are more than five bowel movements per day, while relative Diarrhea refers to a relative increase in the normal number of bowel movements per day. Because it can lead to dehydration, a person who has absolute Ddiarrhea should seek medical help as soon as possible.
Nausea is another symptom that is commonly associated with viral gastroenteritis. The treatment for nausea usually involves home treatments. It is important to control nausea for the sake of comfort. You should avoid unnecessary movements that can make your condition worse if you are experiencing nausea.
Vomiting normally accompanies nausea as a symptom. Combined with diarrhea, vomiting can lead to serious dehydration. There are a lot of conditions that can cause nausea and vomiting so it cannot be a definitive way of telling if a person has gastroenteritis.
A doctor will have to go through your medical history or run some tests to confirm that you have the illness.
Fever is normally a symptom of gastroenteritis that is caused by a bacterial infection. It is a natural body reaction that signifies the body is trying to fight off a serious infection from getting hold. It is generally, a response of the body against foreign organisms causing the infection. The main aim of treating fever is to lessen the discomfort caused by the condition.
If you are experiencing a very high fever, somewhere above 38 degrees Celcius then you should go see a doctor.
Bloody diarrhea is a gastroenteritis symptom that is typically associated with a bacterial infection. This is actually a very alarming symptom and anyone seeing it on their stool is going to be worried. There are situations where bloody diarrhea is an indication of a life-threatening condition but in the case of gastroenteritis, it is an indication of a very serious infection. It still requires seeing a medical professional.
Sweating is actually a natural body function that is used to regulate temperature. When it occurs with other symptoms, it can be taken as a sign of an illness. So, sweating alone will not indicate gastroenteritis. But sweating combined with the other symptoms included here is a clear indication.
Pain or abdominal cramps is one of the symptoms of gastroenteritis that clearly points out that something is wrong with the digestive system. When people think of stomach flu, they normally associate it with the pain that comes along with the infection.
Loss of Appetite
Another significant symptom of gastroenteritis is the loss of appetite. The person suffering from the illness has little inclination to eat. When combined with the serious dehydration brought about by diarrhea and vomiting, this can lead to a very situation where the patient may become too weak.
Pus in the Stool
For the more serious infections, there might be some pus in the stool. This can be alarming but it doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing. The pus indicates that the body’s immune system is fighting off the infection, although it would be best if you will seek professional medical help.
Abdominal pain and vomiting without fever are some of the most common symptoms but gastroenteritis presents itself through numerous more signs and symptoms. If you’re suffering from one or more of the following, contact your doctor.
There is no single symptom that would definitely indicate gastroenteritis. Doctors will study your medical history and will run tests to confirm if you have the illness. That’s the only time that they can prescribe the right medication. The treatment will depend on the type of gastroenteritis that is affecting you.
If you feel several of the symptoms listed here, then seek medical help right away.
Learn more about Digestive Health here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.