Stomach Flu Causes And Risk Factors
What are stomach flu causes? A number of different viruses can cause viral gastroenteritis or stomach flu including noroviruses and rotaviruses. First, lets talk about the norovirus, which is said to be the number one cause of viral gastroenteritis in children and adults. If your stomach flu is caused by the norovirus, then the period during which you are contagious starts from the time you start to feel sick up until three days after you are better with some individuals being contagious as long as two weeks following their recovery. The norovirus causes stomach flu symptoms within a day or two of being exposed to the virus. On the plus side, most people who have the stomach flu due to norovirus feel better within 24 to 48 hours.
Another virus, the rotavirus, is the top cause of stomach flu in kids and infants, but it can also affect adults. Symptoms usually begin within one to three days of exposure. However, with this virus at the root, the stomach flu can be caught from someone before symptoms appear and even up to two weeks following recovery! Astrovirus and enteric adenovirus can also cause stomach flu.
How do you catch these viruses and end up with the stomach flu? The stool and vomit of infected individuals contain the viruses that cause stomach flu. The viruses that can cause a case of the stomach flu can easily spread from close contact with infected individuals through the following:
So how do you get rid of the stomach flu?
What Causes Stomach Pain
Sometimes it can be exceedingly difficult to try to pinpoint the cause of stomach pain. There are many organs that reside within the abdomen, such as the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, large and small intestine, appendix (which is part of the large intestine, kidneys, spleen, and the stomach itself. There is also a chance that there is a parasitical, bacterial, or viral infection that may be affecting the stomach or surrounding areas. There is a long list of maybes when it comes to the causes of abdominal pain, however, the most common reasons for stomach pain include:
- Infection. Its not uncommon for an infection that is in your throat to extend to the digestive tract. You may also see changes in bowel habits from infection, such as sudden constipation or diarrhea.
- Menstrual cramps. Cramps from your period can cause stomach pain. While its more common to feel pain in the pelvic region, it can certainly radiate to the stomach as well.
- Stomach flu. Also known as gastroenteritis, the stomach flu can wreak havoc on your abdomen.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Acid reflux happens when the contents of the stomach leak into the esophagus, causing heartburn and associated other symptoms, such as coughing or vomiting.
- Vomiting. If youre sick from food, the stomach flu, or other reason, vomiting can make the stomach muscles extremely sore. This usually passes in a day or two.
- Stress. Stress takes a toll on every portion of your body but particularly your stomach.
Ways To Relieve Acid Reflux Without Medication
A few lifestyle changes are worth trying before resorting to drugs for controlling gastroesophageal reflux.
If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you’ve had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valveyour lower esophageal sphincter. That’s the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn’t close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.
Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburnpain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like youre having a heart attack.
Three conditionspoor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptyingcontribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.
If you’ve been having repeated episodes of heartburnor any other symptoms of acid refluxyou might try the following:
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
If you have a fever greater than 101.3 F degrees for more than 24 hours, cannot keep liquids down for more than 24 hours, or show signs of dehydration, call your healthcare provider. They can prescribe medications to and may recommend treatment with intravenous fluids.
Seek immediate medical attention for the following symptoms:
- Vomiting blood
- Bloody or black, tar-like stools
- Large amounts of mucus in the stool
- Feeling lightheaded or fainting when standing
- Severe abdominal pain
- Persistent vomiting lasting two days or longer
- Diarrhea that lasts more than three days
In addition, children with the following symptoms should be seen immediately:
- Unusually sleepy or difficult to wake up
- Lethargy or severe irritability
- Fever of 102 degrees F or higher
Remedies And Treatments For Bloated Stomachs
While stomach bloating will often resolve on its own, the following measures may help reduce bloating or address its underlying causes:
Exercise and Posture
Physical exercise can help reduce bloating and clear gas from the body. Posture adjustment can also help. The body retains more gas when you are lying on your back, so try to stay active throughout the day.
Both simethicone and activated charcoal are marketed as gas-reducers. The two have proven ineffective and/or inconsistent when used on their own in clinical trials. However, there is some evidence to suggest that they may work when combined or when used with magnesium oxide or loperamide .
The use of probiotics to help with digestive issues is common but little studied. Still, there is some evidence that using probiotics can help reduce stomach bloating. The formula in VSL#3 proved to reduce bloating in both adults and children in clinical studies.
One common cause of stomach bloating is the inability to digest certain foods. Most digestive enzyme supplements are effective only for people who cannot produce enzymes for medical reasons. However, over-the-counter enzymes have proven to help with the digestion of two commonly problematic foods: dairy and legumes .
If you have a hard time digesting the sugars in these foods, you might benefit from lactase supplements for dairy or alpha-galactosidase supplements for legumes.
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Bloating Or Fullness Dizziness Feeling Faint And Heartburn
- Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Reviewed on 7/13/2021
Heartburn is often a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Dizziness and feeling faint can be related to dehydration or problems with heart rhythm. Bloating and fullness may accompany irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive conditions. If you are worried about your symptoms, seek the advice of a healthcare provider to determine the exact cause.
While the list below can be considered as a guide to educate yourself about these conditions, this is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a health care provider. There are many other medical conditions that also can be associated with your symptoms and signs. Here are a number of those from MedicineNet:
Rule Out Medical Conditions
In some cases, bloating may result from a medical condition. To get rid of this bloating, a person may need help from a doctor to diagnose and manage their condition.
Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis, may cause people to experience bloating. Irritable bowel syndrome , can also cause this symptom.
People with these symptoms should discuss them with a doctor, who will also want to know about any relevant family medical history and other medical conditions. The doctor may order diagnostic tests to look for any problems. These may include an X-ray, ultrasound, colonoscopy, or blood tests.
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What Is The Stomach Flu
First, its important to know that the stomach flu has no relation to the regular flu, a.k.a. influenza. Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that causes fever, muscle aches, fatigue, and respiratory issues. In severe cases, influenza can be life-threatening .
The stomach flu, on the other hand, is whats known as viral gastroenteritis, and it happens when a virus causes an infection in your gut, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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Common Causes Of Abdominal Pain
Having abdominal pain can be a mild inconvenience or have a significant impact on your well-being. There are several reasons why you may have abdominal pain, ranging from minor muscle strains to appendicitis that requires surgery.
Our skilled providers at Smart Clinic Urgent Care often deal with patients suffering from abdominal pain. Here are the six most common causes.
What Is Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is a condition where acid from your stomach ends up flowing back up into your esophagus, the tube that connects the stomach and throat. Many people experience an occasional bout of acid reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a disorder where people experience some form of acid reflux at least once or twice per week.
GERD can develop in people of all ages. The following factors and conditions can also increase your chances of experiencing some form of acid reflux, including GERD:
- Those who may be carrying extra weight
- People who smoke regularly or people frequently exposed to second-hand smoke
- People taking medications that cause acid reflux as a side effect
- Individuals with a connective tissue disorder
- People who experience delays in emptying their stomach
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Gi Issues Caused By Kidney Stones
Normally, kidney stones cause symptoms such as pressure and pain in your lower back, fever, frequent urination, discomfort urinating, and bloody or discoloured urine. However, sometimes kidney stones can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and stomach discomfort.
If youre experiencing sudden low back pain and gastrointestinal discomfort, dont ignore the possibility that it might be kidney stones.
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Treating A Stomach Bug
Dehydration may become a serious concern for people who have the stomach virus. Watch for the symptoms of dehydration. You should seek medical attention if any of these symptoms occur.
Make sure you get plenty of fluids. Adults can drink fluids such as Gatorade with electrolytes, and children can also drink fluid replacement solutions such as Pedialyte. These drinks coupled with water will help restore the bodys hydration balance. For best results, drink a few sips every half hour to an hour.
Dont drink sugary drinks like Kool-Aid or sodas, as these liquids dont replace lost electrolytes. Taking in ice chips or drinking plain water is another good option for staying hydrated.
- symptoms of dehydration, including fatigue and extreme thirst
- symptoms of botulism
- symptoms of food poisoning after visiting a developing country
If you have a mild case of food poisoning, it may respond well to rest and fever-reducing medications. If you have a severe case, you may need to be admitted to the hospital for intravenous fluid hydration. If you have severe bacterial food poisoning, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.
Your doctor will review your symptoms and run tests to determine the best course of action.
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How To Get Rid Of The Stomach Flu: 7 Home Remedies That Can Help
Getting rid of a stomach virus can actually be as simple as waiting 24 to 28 hours for symptoms to subside. If youre looking to feel better faster and recover well from the stomach flu, there are some natural remedies that you can easily do at home that have been known to help boost the recovery process.
Do you know what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say about how to get rid of stomach flu caused by the norovirus? According to the CDC:
There is no specific medicine to treat people with norovirus illness. Norovirus infection cannot be treated with antibiotics because it is a viral infection. If you have norovirus illness, you should drink plenty of liquids to replace fluid lost from throwing up and diarrhea. This will help prevent dehydration.
When you have the stomach flu, youre most likely dealing with diarrhea and/or vomiting. Both of these symptoms mean a lot of water loss for your body and the chance of dehydration which only makes you feel that much worse. To avoid becoming dehydrated from the stomach flu, its really important that you consume a lot of clear liquids like water, coconut water and herbal tea.
2. What To Eat
3. What Not to Eat
You want to know how to get rid of the stomach flu fast? Well, what you dont put into your body can be just as important or helpful as what you do put into your body! If you have the stomach flu, there are certain foods and drinks youll want to avoid until youre feeling better.
A Nasty Little Bug That Can Cause Heartburn & Reflux
Helicobacter pylori A nasty infection
Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, is a bacterium that infects the human stomach. H. pylori infection can cause heartburn, reflux, gastritis, stomach ulcers, and even stomach cancer. Conventional treatment is usually a combination of multiple antibiotics and acid-suppressive medication, termed triple therapy or quadruple therapy. However, these protocols often fail, as H. pylori becomes increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Additionally, these treatments cause many unpleasant side effects, which prevents many people from completing the protocol properly.
H. pylori causes heartburn and reflux by increasing gastric acid secretion. It also releases noxious substances that can damage the lining of the stomach and oesophagus.
H. pylori can be part of a healthy stomach microbiome if kept in balance
Up to 50% of the population carry H. pylori, however only a small percentage of these people develop problems such as gastric ulcers. Why is this? One theory is that H. pylori is not necessarily pathogenic and can actually exist as a harmonious part of the normal microbiome of the stomach. It only causes inflammation and damage when it becomes overgrown due an imbalance in the numbers of different bacteria. In this case, supporting a healthy stomach microbiome could prevent the adverse effects of H. pylori infection, without needing to eradicate it entirely.
Probiotics can improve H. pylori treatment outcomes
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What Are The Symptoms
Common symptoms of norovirus infection include vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. Less common symptoms can include low-grade fever or chills, headache, and muscle aches. Symptoms usually begin 1 or 2 days after ingesting the virus, but may appear as early as 12 hours after exposure. The illness typically comes on suddenly. The infected person may feel very sick and vomit often, sometimes without warning, many times a day. Sometimes people infected with norovirus have no symptoms at all, but can still pass the virus to others.
Rotavirus And Stomach Flu: Everything You Need To Know
Grab your barf bucket, steel your nerves, and let our guidelines help you through rotavirus or the stomach flu.
There you are, minding your own business, when suddenly it happens: Your kid pukes on your shoes. And now you see the next few days of your life will be dominated by barf, saltine crackers, and the worry that everyone in the house will also fall ill. Heres how to handle two of the most common stomach issues: gastroenteritis and rotavirus.
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Risk Factors In Women
Women are particularly susceptible to urinary tract infections because their urethra is shorter, meaning the infection can spread throughout the urinary tract more easily. Additionally, the anal and urinary openings of a woman are in closer proximity, increasing the risk of bacteria spreading between the two.
In addition to the above, women are also susceptible to the following risk factors for UTIs:
- Sexual intercourse can contribute to the spread of genital or anal bacteria, especially with a new sexual partner when the rate of sexual activity is typically higher. However, UTIs are not a sexually transmitted disease
- Spermicides and birth control methods which use spermicides can affect the natural balance of healthy bacteria within the vagina
- Antibiotics can also alter the natural bacterial balance within the vagina
- Diaphragms can place pressure on a womanÃ¢â¬â¢s urethra, resulting in the possibility of the bladder not emptying properly
- Pregnancy. As the uterus grows in pregnancy, it can put added weight on the bladder, leading to the possibility of the bladder not emptying properly
- Menopause can cause hormonal changes which affect the vaginaÃ¢â¬â¢s natural bacterial balance
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