Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link
Quick Facts

Gastroenteritis

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Mar 2021| Content last modified Mar 2021
Click here for the Professional Version
Get the full details

What is gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is inflammation of your stomach and intestines.

What causes gastroenteritis?

What are the symptoms of gastroenteritis?

Symptoms start suddenly and include:

  • Feeling sick to your stomach and throwing up

  • Belly rumbles or cramps

  • Diarrhea

How can doctors tell I have gastroenteritis?

Doctors know you have gastroenteritis from your symptoms. They usually don't need to do tests, but sometimes they may do:

  • Stool (poop) tests

How do doctors treat gastroenteritis?

For adults with mild gastroenteritis, doctors will have you:

  • Take small, frequent sips of fluid

  • Eat regular food as soon as your stomach feels up to it

If you're a healthy adult, the kind of fluid and food really doesn't matter.

If your baby or young child has gastroenteritis, you should give them:

  • Oral rehydration fluid, which you can get in a drug store or supermarket

Oral rehydration fluids have the right balance of salts and minerals that babies and young children need.

For more severe gastroenteritis, doctors may:

  • Give you fluids by vein (IV)

  • Give you medicines to stop diarrhea and help your belly feel better

  • Give you medicine to get rid of parasites, if a parasite is causing your gastroenteritis

  • For certain rarer kinds of gastroenteritis, give you antibiotics

How can I prevent gastroenteritis?

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version
Others also read
Test your knowledge
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)
Vitamin B6 (pyroxidine), an essential vitamin, is needed to process (metabolize) carbohydrates, amino acids, and fats; facilitate healthy nerve function; form red blood cells; and maintain skin health. Vitamin B6 is in many foods. Which of the following is NOT a good source of vitamin B6?
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
TOP