Stomach flu is known medically as viral gastroenteritis because inflammation of the mucus lining of the gastrointestinal tract is the initial complication. Viral gastroenteritis is a leading cause of severe diarrhea in both adults and children, according to MedlinePlus, and it is caused mainly by the rotavirus and a few other viral types. These viruses are often found in contaminated food or drinking water, and lead to symptoms within 48 hours but often within just a few hours. Those with the highest risk for severe stomach flu include infants, the elderly and people with a compromised immune system.
The main symptoms caused by stomach viruses include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, achy muscles and fever. The most serious complication of severe stomach flu is dehydration due to excessive loss of fluids. Without replenishing lost water and electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, dehydration from stomach flu can become a medical emergency within 48 hours. Signs of dehydration include confusion, dizziness, fatigue, headache, extreme thirst, low blood pressure and heart palpitations. The main issue with the stomach flu is that it is difficult to keep fluids in your body for a significant amount of time.
Fresh-squeezed juice is less acidic and contains less sugar compared to juice derived from concentrate, according to “Contemporary Nutrition: Functional Approach.” Fresh citrus juices are also rich in citric acid and vitamin C, which display both antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Consequently, fresh orange or grapefruit juice may help to combat the stomach infection and reduce the duration of the illness. Less acidic fruit juices include blueberry, papaya and peach. Fruit juices also contain a variety of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. Perhaps a good strategy is to wait until you have stopped vomiting and then mix fresh juice with water in a 50:50 ratio. If the mixture worsens your diarrhea, then discontinue. Talk to your doctor about how to combat the stomach flu safely at home.
Hormone replacement therapy to relieve menopausal may raise the risk a bit for serious lower intestinal bleeding, studies suggests.
In the 1990s, millions of American women turned to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help ease the symptoms of menopause. But the results of a landmark study called the Women's Health Initiative, released in 2002, found that long-term use of the therapy increased women's risk of breast cancer, as well as their risk for heart attacks and strokes. Use of the regimen fell dramatically soon after.
"HRT is an effective treatment, but it does come with risks" said lead researcher Dr. Prashant Singh of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Singh said the risk of any one woman developing gastric bleeding is very small.
The researchers said lower intestinal bleeding linked to HRT often develops due to a condition called ischemic colitis. Ischemic colitis occurs when blood clots block blood vessels in the large intestine. This cuts off the blood supply to part of the intestine. Without a proper blood supply, that portion of the intestine dies, which is when bleeding starts. The results of the study were scheduled to be presented May 18 at Digestive Disease Week in Washington, D.C. Findings presented at the meetings are generally considered preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Singh's group also found that the longer a woman remained on HRT, the most likely she was to have major lower intestinal bleeding. There's a higher risk of bleeding in the lower intestine than the upper because there are fewer blood vessels in the lower intestine. That means clotting in the lower intestine has a greater effect in the blood supply, Singh said.
Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said that "HRT is very effective for the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats, but comes with a cost of associated risks.
"These additional new risks need to be considered when doctors are treating menopausal symptoms. As was previously recommended, postmenopausal hormone use should be the smallest dose for the shortest duration of time" said Wu.
What is the BRAT diet?
If you recently had an upset stomach or diarrhea, your doctor may suggest that you limit your diet the bland- foods that wont irritate your stomach. The BRAT diet is A bland- food diet that is often recommended for adults and children.
BRAT stands for : Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. The BRAT diet can help you recover from an upset stomach or diarrhea for the following reasons:
- It includes "binding" foods. These are low fiber foods that can help make your stools firmer.
- It includes bananas,, which are high in potassium and help replace nutrients your body has lost because of the vomiting and diarrhea.
After you have diarrhea or vomiting, follow the BRAT diet to help your body ease back into normal eating. This diet may also help ease the nausea and vomiting some women may experience.
You can add other bland foods to the BRAT diet. For example, you can try saltine crackers, boiled potatoes or clear soups. Don't try eating dairy products and sugary or fatty food right away, these foods may trigger nausea or lead to more diarrhea.
Adults and children should follow the BRAT diet for only a short period of time because it does not provide all the elements of a healthy diet. Following the BRAT diet for too long may cause your body to become malnourished. This means you are not getting 3nough nutrients . If your body is malnourished, it will be harder for you to get better.
Ask you family doctor if you have any questions about whether you or your child should follow the BRAT diet.
Gastroenteritis develops when the gastrointestinal tract or the stomach and the intestines get inflamed and irritated. Gastroenteritis is generally caused by bacterial or parasitic infections or food-borne illnesses. Infectious gastroenteritis then develops depending on how strong your body's immune system is and how well it fights off the infection.
In some cases, people recover in no time from short bouts of vomiting and diarrhea symptomatic of gastroenteritis, In some case however patients start getting dehydrated as a result of the constant vomiting and a host of other complications and side effects develop as a result.
Symptoms of Gastroenteritis
The most common symptoms of gastroenteritis include:
- Stomach pain and cramps
- Diarrhea (non bloody)
- Muscle ache or body pain
- Low-grade fever
Symptoms occur within two to three days of contracting the infection and can last for as long as ten days. Stomach flu symptoms are often confused with the symptoms of common flu or influenza. While they may share certain commonalities in terms of symptoms such as body pain and vomiting, influenza affects the respiratory system whereas gastroenteritis only affects you digestive system.