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Gastroenteritis – symptoms, treatment

Gastroenteritis — A very common inflammatory disease of the stomach and intestines. Vomiting, diarrhea, colic, weakness, and sometimes fever — Are its basic and familiar symptoms.

Causes of gastroenteritis

  • Pathogens of infectious (viruses, bacteria) and parasitic diseases;
  • Food toxicological infections — poisoning by bacterial toxins, which are formed as a result of their vital activity;
  • side effects of certain medications (for example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), radio- and chemotherapy;
  • unhealthy diet;
  • Food allergies or intolerance to certain products;
  • stress.

Gastroenteritis may also be one of the symptoms of certain diseases.

Symptoms and signs of gastroenteritis

Symptoms of gastroenteritis vary depending on the cause of the disease. Infectious gastroenteritis usually begins suddenly. Vomiting, diarrhea (diarrhea) with or without blood and mucus, intestinal cramps, weakness, fever (moderate or high) — These are classic signs of an intestinal infection. The disease may also be accompanied by muscle pain and prostration.

Parasitic gastroenteritis usually presents with chronic diarrhea, in most cases without blood, except for amebic dysentery. Weakness and weight loss are observed when diarrhea is severe.

Non-infectious gastroenteritis are mostly accompanied by digestive disorders. Their manifestations can be very slight (soft feces, flatulence) or pronounced (severe diarrhea, colic, weakness, weight loss, deterioration of the general condition).

Diagnosis of gastroenteritis

The clinical picture of many types of gastroenteritis is very clear. And to make a diagnosis, the doctor may be enough to ask the patient about the complaints and conduct a general examination. palpation of the abdomen reveals bloated bowel loops. The doctor may also listen to the bowel movements. This is usually very active, with many sounds.

Most importantly — Determine the cause of your illness, as this determines your treatment plan. Therefore, in some cases, the doctor prescribes additional tests. For many infectious diseases, tests have been developed that can detect the pathogen; parasites and bacteria are detected by microscopy or stool cultures.

General and biochemical blood tests are prescribed to patients with a severe form of the disease, because in these cases, the work of internal organs is disrupted (for example, the kidneys are affected in gastroenteritis caused by E. coli).

Treatment of gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis therapy works in two ways:

  • Eliminates the underlying cause, if possible;
  • corrects the symptoms and consequences.

There is no specific treatment for viral gastroenteritis. With moderate symptoms, rest and plenty of fluids — All that is needed for a successful recovery. Severe dehydration, lack of fluids and certain electrolytes are corrected with intravenous solutions.

Bacterial gastroenteritis requires treatment with antibiotics, parasitic — antihelminthics. When food intolerance is suspected, it is most important to exclude from the diet foods that may cause a painful condition. If gastroenteritis develops as a side effect of medication, the doctor may try to replace medications from the current regimen with analogues. In cases where inflammation is only a symptom, the way to get rid of it — in the treatment of the underlying disease.

Always need plenty of fluids, with a fever are appointed antipyretic. Antidiarrheals, such as Imodium, are not always welcome.

Prevention of gastroenteritis

Best prevention of infectious gastroenteritis — Follow the elementary rules of personal hygiene that everyone is familiar with:

  • wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet and before eating;
  • Do not drink raw water, especially from unfamiliar sources and standing water;
  • Avoid suspicious eating places;
  • In the presence of a patient at home — Allocate him individual utensils, do not share towels with him;
  • disinfect swaddling places and diaper changes if the baby is sick;
  • It is recommended that travelers find out about the local cuisine in advance and avoid potentially dangerous dishes. First of all it concerns visiting countries where native cuisine is very different from what you are used to, or where ingredients are used which are not thermally treated. Water should preferably be bought bottled.

A healthy diet and lifestyle can help prevent chronic gastroenteritis.