Gastrointestinal infections happen when bacteria, viruses or parasites cause the gastrointestinal tract to become inflamed. This condition is called gastroenteritis.
They can happen in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, especially in the stomach and the intestines.
It’s estimated that 15.9 million people in Australia experience gastroenteritis from gut infections each year.
There are several possible causes of gut infections:
Adenovirus is a virus that usually attacks the upper respiratory system, especially in children. Despite this, the virus can also infect other parts of the body including the stomach and intestines, causing symptoms like diarrhoea and abdominal pains.
This is a common form of bacteria found in undercooked food, usually poultry. Infections due to campylobacter are common among young children and the symptoms include diarrhoea (occasionally with blood), fever, vomiting and abdominal pain.
Pinworms are parasites that can infect the gut. They are the most common type of parasitic gut infections found in humans and can be seen in stools as tiny, white, thread-like creatures.
Typically symptoms involve itching around the anal region, skin rashes and abdominal discomfort. They are easily treatable and rarely cause any long-term effects.
This bacteria is usually found in the stomach, though it may be prevalent in the small intestine as well. Helicobacter pylori are known to cause ulcers in the stomach and the small intestine, leading to stomach cancers in some individuals.
The symptoms may vary depending on what is causing the gastrointestinal infection but the most common ones include:
Blood or mucus in the stool
Loss of appetite
Abdominal pain (location may vary)
If you experience these symptoms, get in touch with a gut doctor in Sydney.
Here are a few common questions regarding gut infections:
The symptoms of gut infections are not always very obvious and may look similar to those of other gastrointestinal problems; due to this, proper diagnosis and tests are needed to detect an infection and ensure appropriate treatment.
A gut doctor can advise you on all the necessary tests that need to be taken and give you the proper treatments for your symptoms.
Dr Suhirdan Vivekanandarajah is a gastroenterologist based in Sydney who specialises in various gastrointestinal diseases and treatments.
Speak with Dr Vivekanandarajah for treatment and support if you feel your symptoms are caused by a gastrointestinal infection.
Interventional Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist
Bsc (Med) | M.B.B.S. (Hons) | FRACP