Gastroenteritis is the inflammation of the stomach lining and may be caused by virus, bacteria or protozoa. Generally transmitted through physical contact or food and water, the symptoms of gastroenteritis may vary depending upon the cause of infection. It is important not to confuse gastroenteritis symptoms with any other disease, making diagnosis difficult.
The presence of aliens such as bacteria or virus affects the ability of the intestine to retain fluid. This results in frequent watery stools, known as diarrohea. A person with mild gastroenteritis may pass watery stools 2 or 3 times a day, which is normal and may cure on its own. In severe gastroenteritis, the frequency of bowel movement may be much higher leading to severe dehydration. It is better to seek immediate medical advice in such cases.
In some cases, diarrohea may be accompanied by vomiting. It will not be wise to ignore if the vomiting continues for more than 2 or 3 times a day or continues for more than two days. The aforesaid symptoms of vomiting and diarrohea may make people dehydrated quickly. The loss of fluids and loss of appetite can result in rapid weight loss. It is important to diagnose and undergo treatment in such cases to prevent further complications.
Gastroenteritis followed by stomach cramps is extremely painful. The pain is agonizingly felt throughout the abdominal region or originate at one place and gradually spread to all areas of the abdomen. The presence of a foreign object or virus inside the body is shown by an increase in body temperature as the body’s immune system tries to get rid of the disease causing worm. The temperature can reach upto 102 degree F or 39 degree C.
Most patients suffering from gastroenteritis also suffer from nausea and headache, especially in the case of gastroenteritis caused by virus. As we have already seen, most symptoms in mild gastroenteritis resolve on its own with PRICE therapy. The symptoms usually occur within two or three days of contracting the infection and may last just a day or two. Though in rare cases it may last upto a week, it would be prudent to seek medical advice, if the symptoms persist for more than 2 or 3 days.
Immediate medical advice should be sought in cases of severe gastroenteritis, blood in stool or vomit, vomiting for more than 2 days, or those exhibiting symptoms of dehydration such as excessive thirst, deep yellow colored urine, little or no urine output, severe weakness, dizziness etc.