12 April 2011


What is Gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis means inflammation of the stomach and the intestine causing vomiting and diarrhoea.
Cause of Gastroenteritis: Many different viruses can cause gastroenteritis, including rotaviruses, adenoviruses, caliciviruses, astroviruses, Norwalk virus, and a group of Norwalk-like viruses. Viral gastroenteritis is not caused by bacteria (such as Salmonella or Escherichia coli) or parasites (such as Giardia), or by medications or other medical conditions, although the symptoms may be similar. Your doctor can determine if the diarrhea is caused by a virus or by something else.
Underlying condition causes of Gastroenteritis: The list of possible underlying conditions mentioned in various sources as possible causes of Gastroenteritis includes:
> Food poisoning
> E coli food poisoning
> Staphylococcus aurea food poisoning
> Salmonella food poisoning
> Psychological problems
> Bacterial digestive infection
> Bacillary dysentery
> Amebic dysentery
> Viral digestive infection
> Traveler's diarrhea
> Parasitic digestive infection (type of Sudden Digestive Conditions)
> Worms
> Food intolerance
> Iron poisoning
> Poisoning
> Ingested chemicals
> Other causes of diarrhea

Gastroenteritis Diagnosis & Tests -
Stool assays for the viruses can identify the specific agent. A stool culture may rule out bacterial causes of the illness.

Digestive System
Gastroenteritis Treatment
The objective of treatment is to replace fluids and electrolytes (salt and minerals) lost by diarrhea. Antibiotic therapy is not effective in viral illness. Antidiarrheal medications are generally not given, as they may prolong the infectious process. Self-care measures to avoid dehydration include drinking electrolyte solutions (available over-the-counter) to replace fluids lost by diarrhea.
People with diarrhea who are unable to take fluids by mouth because of nausea may need intravenous fluids, especially in small children.
People taking diuretics need to be cautious with diarrhea, and may need to stop taking the diuretic during the acute episode. (Always consult with the health care provider before stopping a prescribed medication!)
Do not give anti-diarrheal medications to children unless directed to do so by a health care provider. Since the risk of dehydration is greater in infants and young children, parents should closely monitor the number of wet diapers changed per day when the child is sick. Electrolyte and fluid replacement solutions for children are available in food and drug stores. Jell-O water, soda and plain water do not replace electrolytes the child needs when dehydrated from vomiting or diarrhea. Children with diarrhea often benefit from dietary modifications until the diarrhea subsides.

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