Gastroenteritis is inflammation (swelling and irritation) of the lining of the stomach and intestines that often causes diarrhea and vomiting. It can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or harmful organisms called parasites. It also can be caused by certain medications, toxins in seafood, and eating acidic foods. It is sometimes called the stomach flu, but it is not caused by the influenza virus.

Gastroenteritis can cause abdominal pain, headache, and chills. It may improve in a few days with no treatment if you drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration. Those with gastroenteritis should stop eating for a few hours and drink plenty of liquids, such as a sports drink or water. Then, ease back into eating with bland foods, such as crackers and toast, and get plenty of rest.

UAB GI program

UAB Medicine is known worldwide as a leading center for digestive and liver disorders. Our gastroenterology and gastrointestinal (GI) program is consistently ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report. We see over 20,000 patients and perform more than 12,000 outpatient procedures each year.

Our GI program is also historically significant. The inventor of the endoscope, Basil Hirschowitz, M.D., founded our program more than 50 years ago. His innovation revolutionized diagnoses for GI and other conditions and continues to inspire us today. Our interventional endoscopy group, which includes endoscopic ultrasound, is one of the busiest and most prestigious in the country – both clinically and academically.

UAB Medicine continues to lead advancements in gastroenterology through active clinical research trials involving the latest drug therapies and other treatments for digestive disorders. Our doctors and scientists are searching for causes and cures for many GI illnesses through basic research. For example, they study how the bacteria in our intestines affect our health.

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