What are the symptoms of gastroenteritis?

The symptoms of gastroenteritis can range from mild to severe and may vary depending on the underlying cause. Symptoms of viral gastroenteritis, caused by a viral infection, generally resolve within 24 to 48 hours. Other causes of gastroenteritis can last longer.

Symptoms of gastroenteritis can include:

  • Abdominal gas, bloating or belching

  • Abdominal pain or cramps

  • Blood-streaked stools

  • Flu-like symptoms (fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, cough, aches and pains)

  • Nausea, which may be described as feelings of wooziness, queasiness, retching, sea-sickness, car-sickness, or an upset stomach

  • Vomiting including multiple episodes

  • Watery diarrhea including multiple episodes

  • Weakness (loss of strength)

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

Gastroenteritis can lead to serious or life-threatening complications in some cases, including dehydration and gastrointestinal bleeding. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, your child, or someone you are with, are experiencing any of the following life-threatening symptoms:

  • Change in alertness or consciousness

  • Delirium

  • Extreme thirst

  • Lack of urination or fewer wet diapers in infants

  • Lethargy

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Seizure

  • Shallow, raspy, or difficulty breathing

  • Sunken fontanel (soft spot) in an infant’s head

  • Unresponsiveness


What is gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is a general term for irritation and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. The hallmark symptoms of gastroenteritis are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Gastroenteritis is quite common and can occur in any age group or population.

Gastroenteritis is most frequently caused by a viral infection and is commonly referred to as viral gastroenteritis, the stomach flu... Read more about gastroenteritisintroduction


What causes gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is most frequently caused by a gastrointestinal viral infection. Similar symptoms can also result from a variety of other conditions including:


How is gastroenteritis treated?

Treatment plans for gastroenteritis are individualized depending on the underlying cause and your age, medical history, and any other conditions you may have. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the cause; minimizes the discomfort of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; and decreases the risk of dehydr... Read more about gastroenteritistreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System

Did You Know?

View Source

Half of those with IBS have symptoms before what age?