Gastroenteritis: Causes And Symptoms

Gastroenteritis: Causes And Symptoms
  • PublishedSeptember 14, 2018


Gastroenteritis or infectious diarrhea is a medical condition from inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that involves both the stomach and the small intestine.

It causes some combination of diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cramping. Dehydration may occur as a result.

Most cases of the infection in Nigeria are caused by Rotavirus. In adults, Norovirus and Campylobacter.

Gastroenteritis typically involves both diarrhea and vomiting. Signs and symptoms usually begin 12-72 hours after contracting the infectious agent. If due to a viral agent, the condition usually resolves within one week. Some viral causes may be associated with:

  1. Fever
  2. Fatigue
  3. Headache
  4. Muscle pain

Some bacterial infections may be associated with severe abdominal pain which may persist for several weeks.

Symptoms of Gastroenteritis

With Gastroenteritis, the main symptoms probably have watery diarrhea and vomiting, stomach pain, cramping, fever, nausea and headache.


There are many ways Gastroenteritis can be spread. These are contact with someone who has the virus, contaminated food or water, unwashed hands after going to the bathroom or toilet.

The most common cause of Gastroenteritis is a virus. The main types are rotavirus and norovirus.

Bacteria such as Salmonella, Campylobacte, Shigella species are also causes of gastroenteritis.

Other unusual ways of getting Gastroenteritis are: through ingestion of heavy metals in drinking water, eating a lot of acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes, toxins found in sea foods and medications such as antibiotics, antacids, laxatives and chemotherapy drugs

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