Gastroenteritis - Experience

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Definition of gastroenteritis

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.

Return to Gastroenteritis (Stomach Flu)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Lily, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 04

I had traveled to the Caribbean for a vacation. I got a really bad upper respiratory infection the third day. A friend of mine had me go to her doctor. He gave me some medication for the cough, and some antibiotics. Two days later, I coughed really hard and I, well, it just came out all over the bed. I never even had a chance to make it to the bathroom. It got progressively worse between vomiting and diarrhea; plus I still had the URI. When I coughed I either vomited or had diarrhea. I had to just keep a towel on the bed. The trip home by plane took two days, and I was horrified of being on the plane and coughing and either vomiting or pooping my pants. I had a friend go get me some adult diapers. I never thought I'd ever have to wear adult diapers at my age, but I did. They worked and I got home. I went right to urgent care and they gave me a Z-pak and a different cough med. Three days later I was still in a diaper so I went to my GI doctor. He tested me for C. diff, and said I definitely had gastroenteritis. I was in bed for two straight weeks. Not fun!

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Comment from: sharon, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: March 28

I had gastroenteritis. I got hospitalized for three days, and threw up everything I ate and I have a bad stomach cramps and I also had diarrhea. I"m having fever right now, I think it's still connected to this gastroenteritis. I really want to get well soon. I already lost 5 pounds on my weight.

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