Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Gastroenteritis (often referred to as the "stomach flu," however, it is not related to the influenza virus) is a nonspecific term for various problems in the gastrointestinal tract with the most common symptoms and signs of diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pains.
As previously mentioned, although it is not caused by influenza viruses, it is commonly referred to as the "stomach flu" because most people have acute symptoms that last a day or so, and then begin to resolve, like the more benign flu strains. In the U.S., less
than 2% of the estimated 100 million persons with symptoms per year ever require hospitalization, but in developing countries it is a leading cause of death, mainly due to dehydration. Severe gastroenteritis can cause dehydration. Also, people with symptoms of diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, fever greater than 101
F (38.33 C) for longer than 5 days, or have severe infection (sepsis), and other problems will be considered to have another disease (for example, shigellosis).
Not all doctors agree on the nonspecific term of gastroenteritis so for this article, the parameters are presented.
What causes gastroenteritis?
Infectious agents such as bacteria and viruses are the most frequent causes of gastroenteritis in the US and worldwide. Infections cause diarrhea and other symptoms by causing inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tissue. The infections increase the fluid content in the intestines and colon by changing the gastrointestinal tract's ability to absorb water and by increasing the speed of transit (motility) for things you ingest. This, in turn, causes diarrhea. Infectious agents may physically damage intestinal cells directly or indirectly with secreted toxins.
Gastroenteritis - CauseQuestion: Do you know what virus, bacteria, or parasite caused your case of gastroenteritis (cruise ship, traveling by plane, traveling to another country, from a family member or friend?)
Gastroenteritis - Call for Medical HelpQuestion: Did you have to call your doctor to treat your case of gastroenteritis? What did our doctor prescribe and what tests did he/she order to determine the cause of gastroenteritis?
The BRAT diet is one type of bland diet that doctors sometimes recommended
for people who are recovering from a gastrointestinal infection such as gastroenteritis or other
causes of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach upset. It also helps some women
who are suffering from morning sickness during pregnancy. BRAT is an
acronym that stands for:
The BRAT diet is based upon the fact that these foods are easy to digest and
are well tolerated by most people. The BRAT diet is not a weight loss regimen
and is not intended to be used over the long term. It is low in protein, fat,
and fiber so it is not ideal from a nutritional standpoint for long term use.
The low-fiber nature of the diet can help make loose stools firmer, and the
bananas provide a needed source of potassium.