Food Poisoning or Stomach Flu: Signs, Symptoms, and Causes of Each

He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications. An upset stomach rarely occurs at a convenient time. UnityPoint Health Virtual Care works for you to determine what’s causing your stomach pain.

Symptoms also vary according to the person’s resistance. Symptoms often begin suddenly-sometimes dramatically-with a loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting. Audible rumbling of the intestine and abdominal cramping may occur. Diarrhea is the most common symptom and may be accompanied by visible blood and mucus.

Losing a lot of weight for no particular reason can be a symptom of pancreatic cancer. This is because the pancreas plays an important role in digesting food.

associated with diarrhea, fatigue, nausea or vomiting and upset stomach. The links below will provide you with more detailed information on these medical conditions from the WebMD Symptom Checker and help provide a better understanding of causes and treatment of these related conditions. If indigestion is caused by a disease or medical condition, the prognosis is varied and dependent upon the resolution of that condition. Some conditions such as ulcers, GERD, and gastritis respond readily to medications. Conditions such as food poisoning or pregnancy are self-limited and symptoms should decrease over time.

The amount of research that has been done with functional disorders is greatest in the esophagus and stomach (for example, non-cardiac chest pain, indigestion), perhaps because these organs are easiest to reach and study. Research into functional disorders affecting the small intestine and colon (IBS) is more difficult to conduct, and there is less agreement among the research studies. This probably is a reflection of the complexity of the activities of the small intestine and colon and the difficulty in studying these activities.

This can make it difficult for a patient or doctor to recognize a problem. Certain intestinal parasites, particularly Giardia intestinalis, stick to or invade the lining of the intestine and cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and a general sick feeling. The resulting infection, called giardiasis, is more common in cold climates but occurs in every region of the United States and throughout the world. If the disease becomes persistent (chronic), it can keep the body from absorbing nutrients, a condition known as a malabsorption syndrome. Infection is usually spread through drinking contaminated water (sometimes from wells or unconventional water sources encountered while hiking or camping) or, less commonly, via person-to-person contact (such as in day care centers).

Thus, recognition of infections with Helicobacter pylori has removed some patients’ symptoms from the functional disease category. Treatment in indigestion for which there is no other cause found, is primarily with education as well as smooth muscle relaxant and promotility drugs. There also may be a role for anti-depressant drugs and dietary changes. Because acid reflux is so common, a trial of potent stomach acid suppression often is used as the initial treatment.

Dyspepsia (indigestion) is best described as a functional disease. (Sometimes, it is called functional dyspepsia.) The concept of functional disease is particularly useful when discussing diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. The concept applies to the muscular organs of the gastrointestinal tract, the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, gallbladder, and colon that are controlled by nerves. What is meant by the term, functional, is that either the muscles of the organs or the nerves that control the organs are not working normally, and, as a result, the organs do not function normally, and the dysfunction causes the symptoms. The nerves that control the organs include not only the nerves that lie within the muscles of the organs but also the nerves of the spinal cord and brain.

Indigestion, the stomach flu, and food poisoning are common causes of acute diarrhea and abdominal pain. In these cases, symptoms last for less than four days and often resolve without medical treatment. is a common cause of both food poisoning and the stomach flu, so many bacteria can potentially cause the food poisoning that it can have a wider timeframe than the stomach flu. Symptoms of food poisoning can crop up just a few hours after contamination, or even days or weeks later, and they can typically last from a few hours to several days, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is always important to keep track of what you eat, especially when dining out for a meal.

If it is not clearly effective, the option of discontinuing the relaxant should be discussed with a physician. The lack of understanding of the physiologic processes (mechanisms) that cause indigestion has meant that treatment usually cannot be directed at the mechanisms. Instead, treatment usually is directed at the symptoms. For example, nausea is treated with medications that suppress nausea but do not affect the cause of the nausea.

Stomach churning is an uncomfortable sensation in the abdomen that may occur alongside nausea and other digestive symptoms. Although stomach churning is often only temporary, it can sometimes be a sign of an underlying condition. The fecal bile acid excretion test will likely have multiple uses, including evaluation of patients with Crohn’s disease who have diarrhea after ileal resection or ileal inflammatory disease that impedes bile acid absorption in the distal ileum (including radiation and Crohn’s enteritis) and those with post-cholecystectomy diarrhea.

People are often able to reduce acid reflux symptoms and nausea by making lifestyle changes. You should still discuss acid reflux with your doctor in order to get a proper diagnosis. Get a prescription. Proton pump inhibitors reduce the amount of acid produced by your stomach.

Like oesophageal stricture, pyloric stenosis is caused by long-term irritation of the lining of your digestive system from stomach acid. Indigestion is often caused by acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acid leaks back up into your gullet (oesophagus) and irritates its lining. If this irritation builds up over time, it can cause your oesophagus to become scarred. The scarring can eventually lead to your oesophagus becoming narrow and constricted (known as oesophageal stricture). If you smoke, the chemicals you inhale in cigarette smoke may contribute to your indigestion.

On the other hand, the psychotropic drugs (antidepressants) and psychological treatments (such as cognitive behavioral therapy) treat hypothetical causes of indigestion (for example, abnormal function of sensory nerves and the psyche) rather than causes or even the symptoms. Treatment for indigestion often is similar to that for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) even though the causes of IBS and indigestion are likely to be different. Different subtypes of indigestion (for example, abdominal pain and abdominal bloating) are likely to be caused by different physiologic processes (mechanisms).

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Antidepressants have not been studied adequately in other types of functional disorders, including indigestion. It probably is reasonable to treat patients with indigestion with psychotropic drugs if they have moderate or severe depression or anxiety. There are many tests to exclude non-functional gastrointestinal diseases.

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