Gastroenteritis: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is a disease which is characterized by the infection and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (mouth, food pipe, stomach and intestine) by bacteria. It is also referred to as “Stomach flu”. It is usually associated with fever, vomiting, diarrhoea and crampy abdominal pain. It is also called as food poisoning.
Gastroenteritis overview image

Recovery Time

  • Most people with gastroenteritis will have mild symptoms which will be reduced within 2-3 days but occasionally they may persist as long as 10 days.
  • An infected person should not share drinks or food for at least 24 hours even after recovering from gastroenteritis.


Diagnosis is done based on the symptoms and the length of time you have been experiencing them. Usually a stool test is done and sometimes a blood test may also be recommended.

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1.  What is Gastroenteritis?
Gastroenteritis  is the infection of the gastro-intestinal system by bacteria. It is usally associated with fever, vomiting , diarrhea and crampy abdominal pain. It is also called as food poisoning.

Q2.  How do I get Gastroenteritis?
You get Gastroenteritis  if you ingest  stale food – improperly cooked or kept for long  without proper storage condition.  The bacteria grow in the food and when ingested they or their toxins cause infection and inflammation of the gastro-intestinal system.

Q3.  What is the treatment for Gastroenteritis?
Rehydration, antibiotics and other symptomatic treatment for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain is the mainstay for the treatment of  Gastroenteritis.

Q4.  How long does it take to cure?
It usually takes about 3-5days of treatment to recover from simple gastroenteritis.

Q5.  How do I prevent Gastroenteritis?
You can prevent gastroenteritis by eating food which is cooked and stored hygeinically.  You  should also maintain proper personal hygeine, as it can spread from person to person through feco-oral route.

Q6.  What are the complications of Gastroenteritis?
If not treated properly, Gastroenteritis can lead to severe dehydration causing hypovolemeia and renal failure.

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