Stomach Infection

Dr. Rajalakshmi VK (AIIMS)MBBS

December 01, 2018

March 06, 2020

Stomach Infection
Stomach Infection

What is stomach infection?

Infections in the stomach can be caused by bacteria or viruses and results in inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, particularly the stomach and intestines (gastroenteritis).

What are its main signs and symptoms?

  • In case of severe stomach infection, signs and symptoms include:
    • Chills or sweating
    • Clammy skin
    • Joint stiffness or muscle pain

What are the main causes?

Stomach infection can be caused by consumption of contaminated food or water which contains viruses (rotavirus, Norwalk virus, etc.) or pathogenic bacteria. Other causative factors include :

  • Contact with contaminated food and water
  • Contact with contaminated objects which include plates and utensils
  • Sharing utensils with an infected person

How is it diagnosed and treated?

  • The diagnosis is mainly considered by the physician based on the symptoms of infection and the signs of dehydration, which include:
    • Dry or sticky mouth
    • Low blood pressure
    • Less/no/concentrated urine (dark yellow urine)
    • Sunken eyes and fontanelles (soft spot on the top of baby’s head)
    • No tears
    • Lethargy or coma (in case of severe dehydration)
  • A complete blood count (CBC) test can be done, which measures the white blood cells (WBCs). An increase in WBCs indicates infection.
  • A routine stool test or stool culture may also be advised (in case of bacterial infection).

Treatment of a stomach infection includes:

  • Managing diarrhoea:
    • In case of diarrhoea along with nausea and vomiting where liquid intake is not tolerated or is thrown up, it is necessary to give fluids through a vein (intravenous; IV).
    • Patients on medications for high blood pressure like diuretics or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE inhibitors) may be advised by their doctor to temporarily stop these medications when they have a stomach infection and restart them when they feel better.
  • Managing dehydration:
    • Use of electrolyte and fluid replacement solutions or freezer pops is recommended to correct dehydration.
    • Avoid colas, fruit juices and sodas.
    • Avoid forcing down large amounts of liquids, instead, sip small amounts of fluids.
    • In case of a stomach infection in babies, closely monitor baby’s diapers to check for dehydration (less urine or fewer wet diapers than usual).
  • Managing nausea and vomiting: Avoid large meals and try eating small amounts of food at regular intervals, such as plain yoghurt, bananas, fresh apples, cooked vegetables, cereals, baked or mashed potatoes, lean meat and bread.
  • Taking plenty of rest.
  • Antibiotics are required only for individuals with bacterial infection when they have severe diarrhoea or a weak immune system. Antibiotics do not treat viral infections.
  • Antipyretic drugs to control fever.
  • Medications to stop/control diarrhoea can be considered on physician advice.


  1. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
  2. Department for Health and Wellbeing. Viral gastroenteritis - including symptoms, treatment and prevention. Government of South Australia; Viral gastroenteritis - including symptoms, treatment and prevention
  3. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases [internet]: US Department of Health and Human Services; Viral Gastroenteritis (“Stomach Flu”)
  4. Cleveland Clinic. [Internet]. Cleveland, Ohio. Gastroenteritis
  5. National Health Service [Internet] NHS inform; Scottish Government; Gastroenteritis

Medicines for Stomach Infection

Medicines listed below are available for Stomach Infection. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

Lab Tests recommended for Stomach Infection

Number of tests are available for Stomach Infection. We have listed commonly prescribed tests below: