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
Viruses (may be responsible for traveler's diarrhea)
Toxins - ingestion of plants or toadstools
Drug reactions
Enzyme deficiencies
Food allergens


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

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


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


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