Inflammation of the stomach and intestines, usually causing sudden upsets that last for 2 or 3 days. Dysentery, typhoid fever, cholera, food poisoning, and travellers’ diarrhoea are all forms of gastroenteritis. The illness may be caused by any of a variety of bacteria, bacterial toxins, viruses, and other organisms in food or water. Appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhoea are the usual symptoms. Symptom onset and severity depends on the cause; symptoms may be mild or so severe that dehydration, shock, and collapse occur. Mild cases usually require rest and rehydration therapy only. For severe illness, treatment in hospital may be necessary, with fluids given by intravenous infusion. Antibiotic drugs may be given for some bacterial infections, but others need no specific treatment.


Online Medical Dictionary: Your essential reference to over 5000 medical terms.