Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines that often causes diarrhea and vomiting. It can be caused by a virus, bacteria or parasites, and it may occur with certain medications or toxins found in seafood, or from eating too many acidic foods. It is often called "stomach flu," but it is not caused by influenza. Gastroenteritis that is caused by a virus is the second most common illness in the United States. The main types of viruses that cause gastroenteritis are rotavirus and norovirus. Bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella also can trigger gastroenteritis.

The illness spreads through contaminated food or water or contact with an infected person. Gastroenteritis also can cause abdominal pain, headache and chills. The condition may improve in a few days with no treatment, but dehydration is common if not enough fluids are consumed. Those with gastroenteritis should stop eating for a few hours, drink plenty of liquids, such as a sports drink or water, ease back into eating with bland foods such as crackers and toast, and get plenty of rest.


UAB Medicine is known worldwide as a leading center for digestive and liver disorders. Our Gastroenterology and Gastrointestinal (GI) Surgery program is consistently recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report. We see more than 20,000 patients and perform more than 12,000 outpatient procedures annually.

Our Digestive Health Center combines gastroenterology care, GI surgery, and a wide range of advanced diagnostic and support services in a convenient location for our patients. The center is staffed by specialists in gastroenterology, radiology, and GI surgery, all of whom work together as a diverse team of digestive health experts. UAB gastroenterologists use the most up-to-date technology to diagnose and treat GERD accurately and thoughtfully. Our GI surgeons are experts in treating GERD using modern treatment options, and they perform over 100 laparoscopic or robotic operations for GERD each year.






UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for Gastroenteritis. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

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