Alerts and Notices
SynopsisGastroenteritis is defined as an acute illness characterized by nausea, emesis, and diarrhea, and associated with malaise, fevers, and anorexia. Gastroenteritis is infectious, with the majority of cases caused by viruses (see viral gastroenteritis). However, particular bacteria (eg, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Shigella, Listeria, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, and Clostridioides difficile) can cause gastroenteritis as well.
Many cases of gastroenteritis are self-limited to 24-48 hours of illness. Onset with nausea and emesis resolve with an improving diarrhea. It can be difficult to differentiate between bacterial and viral etiologies. More typically, bacterial causes will be associated with bloody diarrhea and high fevers, although certain viral agents can also present with these symptoms.
Patients of all demographics are susceptible to gastroenteritis, and many infectious causes spread via fecal-oral transmission. Recent travel, contact with infected individuals, food exposure, and recent antibiotic consumption can be important information in delineating a patient's risk of particular bacterial or viral causes of gastroenteritis. Immunocompromised patients are also at increased risk of acquiring gastroenteritis and may be subject to more serious infections, as their immune clearance is impaired.
A09 – Infectious gastroenteritis and colitis, unspecified
K52.89 – Other specified noninfective gastroenteritis and colitis
25374005 – Gastroenteritis
Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls
- Acute pancreatitis
- Bowel obstruction (see small bowel, large bowel)
- Mesenteric ischemia
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease (eg, Crohn disease, ulcerative colitis)
- Celiac disease
- Ischemic colitis
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Biliary colic (see cholelithiasis)
- Acute cholecystitis
- Drug side effects (NSAIDs, alcohol, caffeine, antibiotics, corticosteroids, opiates, digoxin)
- Malignancy (particularly esophageal, gastric, colonic, small bowel, pancreatic)
- Diverticulitis / diverticulosis
Drug Reaction DataBelow is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.