Gastrointestinal infections can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and many other unpleasant symptoms.
Bacteria, viruses, and parasites can cause gastrointestinal infections.
Treatment typically focuses on staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest but may vary depending on the type of infection.
This article breaks down the symptoms, types, and treatments for a variety of common gastrointestinal infections.
Gastrointestinal disorders include such conditions as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, perianal abscesses, anal fistulas, perianal infections, diverticular diseases, colitis, colon polyps and cancer. Many of these can be prevented or minimized by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, practicing good bowel habits and submitting to cancer screening.
Bacterial gastrointestinal infections include foodborne infections and food poisoning.
Common sources of bacterial gastrointestinal infections include:
While almost any contaminated food can cause an infection, some foods pose more risks than others. These include:
Additionally, people who have bacterial gastrointestinal infections may spread the bacteria to the food they touch. This food could then infect someone else if they consume that food.
Viral gastrointestinal infections are very common, and often people refer to these as the stomach flu.
Norovirus is a type of viral gastroenteritis. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Diseases (NIDDK), norovirus causes 19 to 21 million cases of stomach flu in the United States each year.
Other viruses that can cause viral gastrointestinal infections are less common in the U.S.
Vaccines can prevent some types of viral infections, including rotavirus.
Intestinal helminths, or worms, and protozoan parasites cause parasitic gastrointestinal infections.
The two most common parasitic infections are giardiasis and cryptosporidiosis.
Contact with human feces in the soil can spread these parasites. People can also contract these infections by drinking or swimming in contaminated water.
Some parasitic infections can spread from animals to humans. These include toxoplasmosis, which people can come into contact with in cat feces.
Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside some of your bones, such as your hip and thigh bones. It contains stem cells. The stem cells can develop into the red blood cells that carry oxygen through your body, the white blood cells that fight infections, and the platelets that help with blood clotting.
With bone marrow disease, there are problems with the stem cells or how they develop:
In leukemia, a cancer of the blood, the bone marrow makes abnormal white blood cells In aplastic anemia, the bone marrow doesn't make red blood cells In myeloproliferative disorders, the bone marrow makes too many white blood cells Other diseases, such as lymphoma, can spread into the bone marrow and affect the production of blood cells