Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis: inflammation of the stomach and intestine.

This inflammatory condition of the stomach and intestines accompanies numerous GI disorders (Gastrointestinal).  It occurs in persons of all ages and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in under developed nations. It can be lie- threatening in elderly and debilitated persons.

Gastroenteritis has many possible causes such as:
Bacteria (responsible for acute food poisoning) - Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, Shigella, Clostridium botulinum, C. perfringens, and Escherichia coli
Parasites - Ascaris, Enterobius, and Trichinella spiralis
Amoebae
Viruses (may be responsible for traveler's diarrhea)
Toxins - ingestion of plants or toadstools
Drug reactions
Enzyme deficiencies
Food allergens

Symptoms:

Symptoms varies depending on the causative organism and on the level of the GI tract involved.

Diarrhea
Abdominal discomfort - cramping and pain
Nausea
Vomiting
Possible fever
Malaise
Borborygmus (a rumbling noise caused by propulsion of gas through the intestines)

Treatments:

Treatment is usually supportive and consists of bed rest, nutritional support, and increased fluid intake

Severe gastroenteritis - treatment may require hospitalization (especially in the young, elderly, and debilitated person)

Specific antimicrobials

I.V. fluids and electrolyte replacement may be needed

Bismuth - containing compounds, such as Pepto-Bismol

Antiemetics

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