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What is Gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis, also commonly referred to as the stomach flu or gastric flu, is an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (primarily the stomach and intestines) resulting in diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and even fever in certain cases. Common causes of gastroenteritis include parasitic, bacterial and viral infections. Gastroenteritis can also result from non-infectious causes such as food allergies or toxins.

Gastroenteritis occurs when your immune system becomes active to protect your stomach and intestines from potential harm, sending inflammatory cells to combat infections and repair damaged tissues. Typically, this response is temporary and aimed at addressing a short-term threat or injury. Prolonged or persistent gastroenteritis is uncommon.

Types of gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis can be caused by a variety of things but the most common culprits are viruses, bacteria and parasites. Here are the main types of gastroenteritis based on their causes:

1. Viral Gastroenteritis:Viruses are the most common cause of gastroenteritis. It accounts for about 60% of cases. It's often called the stomach flu even though it's not related to the influenza virus. Common gastroenteritis causing viruses include: