Treatments for Gastroenteritis
Treatments for Gastroenteritis:
The first step in treating gastroenteritis is prevention. This includes preventing food poisoning by throwing out expired food or perishable food that has been in room temperature for two hours or longer. Prevention also includes protecting small children and not eating unknown or potentially poisonous plants and mushrooms.
Prevention of the spread of harmful viruses that cause viral gastroenteritis or microorganisms that cause food poisoning includes frequent hand washing, especially after using the bathroom and before eating. It is also important to avoid contact with a person who has infectious gastroenteritis.
Treatment plans for gastroenteritis are individualized depending on the underlying cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age and medical history of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the cause, minimizes the discomfort of vomiting and diarrhea decreases the risk of developing dehydration.
When gastroenteritis is caused by a self-limiting condition, such as a viral gastroenteritis or indigestion, the treatment includes resting the stomach by not eating solid foods until symptoms have passed for a period of time and ensuring adequate hydration. This can be achieved by drinking water or an oral rehydrating fluid, such as Pedialyte.
In some cases, medications are used to treat gastroenteritis. Antibiotics may be prescribed when gastroenteritis is caused by a bacterial infection, such as in bacterial food poisoning due to shigella, salmonella or campylobacter.
Treatment of severe gastroenteritis that does not resolve or leads to dehydration requires hospitalization and rehydration with intravenous fluids. People most at risk for dehydration include those with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or cancer, and infants, small children and the elderly.
Treatment List for Gastroenteritis
The list of treatments mentioned in various sources
includes the following list.
Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment
or change in treatment plans.
- Bed rest
- Fluids - to avoid dehydration
- Salt solutions
- Symptomatic treatment
- Diet changes
- Clear fluids
- Bland foods - e.g. cereals, rice, soup, crackers, applesauce etc.
- Avoid fried foods
- Avoid spicy foods
- Avoid fruits and vegetables
- Gradual addition of solid foods
- Gradual return to usual diet
- Pain and fever relief medications
- Hygiene measures to prevent contagion to others
- Hospitalization - mainly if severe dehydration (usually infants or elderly)
- Intravenous fluids - in severe cases; see treatment of dehydration
- Treatment of any underlying cause
- Oral rehydration
- Dextrose intravenous solution
- Potassium chloride
- Oral rehydration therapy
- Isotonic sodium chloride
- Treatment of gastroenteritis is dependant on the severity of symptoms, the age of the patient, coomorbidities (such as diabetes etc) and the likely causative organism
- Treatments include:
- Avoidance of dehydration and rehydration
- Oral therapy - if vomiting and dehydration are not severe. Small amounts and often, ideally with and balanced electrolyte solutions, but other fluids can be used. Avoid high sugar drinks as this may worsen diarrhoea and dehydration.
- Nasogastric therapy - in a hospital setting may be used to avoid intravenous therapy.
- Intravenous therapy - where vomiting and/or dehydration are severe, or there is an altered level of consciousness or other coomorbidities.
- Treatment of other symptoms
- Pain and fever can be treated with paracetamol or ibuprofen
- Anti-emetics - can be useful where vomiting is a predominant feature, but generally not recommended in children.
- Antidiarrheals - traditionally avoided because of a theoretical risk of bacteremia, but probably have a role in symptomatic treatment of mild to moderate diarrhoea
- Occasionally recommended for specific causes of gastroenteritis, but most cases are treated with supportive therapy only and will resolve with time
- Hospitalisation. Recommended for:
- The very young (<6 months) and the very elderly
- Moderate to severe dehydration and ongoing losses
- Those with other significant medical conditions
- Altered level of consciousness
- Early age appropriate refeeding is now recommended once vomiting is controlled and rehydration is complete
- Use complex carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, and bread; and lean meats
- Delay in reintroduction of non-human milk has previously been recommended due to the risk of lactose intolerance, but there is an increasing body of evidence that suggests reintroduction of milk once tolerated, or even continuing milk during an acute illness, is not associated with increased adverse outcomes
- Breastfeeding should continue as tolerated
- Public Health measures and good hygiene
- To avoid spread of disease
Gastroenteritis: Is the Diagnosis Correct?
The first step in getting correct treatment is
to get a correct diagnosis.
Differential diagnosis list for Gastroenteritis may include:
Hidden causes of Gastroenteritis may be incorrectly diagnosed:
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Latest treatments for Gastroenteritis:
The following are some of the latest treatments for Gastroenteritis:
Hospital statistics for Gastroenteritis:
These medical statistics relate to hospitals, hospitalization and Gastroenteritis:
- 0.069% (8,818) of hospital consultant episodes were for diarrhoea and gastroenteritis in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
- 87% of hospital consultant episodes for diarrhoea and gastroenteritis required hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
- 46% of hospital consultant episodes for diarrhoea and gastroenteritis were for men in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
- 54% of hospital consultant episodes for diarrhoea and gastroenteritis were for women in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
- 94% of hospital consultant episodes for diarrhoea and gastroenteritis required emergency hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
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Hospitals & Medical Clinics: Gastroenteritis
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