What causes gastroenteritis?
Most cases are caused by viruses. Less common causes include bacteria and parasites. Viruses and bacteria are very contagious and can spread through the consumption of contaminated food or water. However, in children the rotavirus is the leading cause and the ailment is spread by infected children who do not wash their hands properly after going to the toilet.
Many children have more than one episode in a year.
What are the symptoms?
The most common signs and symptoms of gastroenteritis include:
- abdominal cramps
- low-grade fever may also be present
Not all symptoms are present in all cases. Profuse vomiting and diarrhea may cause dehydration (a lack of water and essential salts and minerals in the body).
How to prevent dehydration?
- The key to prevent dehydration and to a fast recovery is good hydration. Take frequently small sips of water
- Avoid dairy products, fatty and spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol
- Stop eating solid foods for a few hours or a day
When to seek medical care?
If you have one of the following symptoms, you should seek medical care:
- Bloody stools or vomiting blood
- High grade fever
- Persistent or severe abdominal pain
Homeopathic treatment for gastroenteritis
Homeopathic medicines have been proven to be safe and effective in vomiting and diarrhea over time. Records indicate that death rates in homeopathic hospitals during 19th century cholera epidemics were often one-third the rate in hospitals practicing conventional medicine. Nowadays various medical journals have published research on homeopathy including The Lancet, British Medical Journal, European Journal of Pharmacology .
The journal Pediatrics published important research on the homeopathic treatment of acute diarrhea in children. The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on the treatment of children with diarrhea in Nicaragua. Conducted by physicians at the University of Washington and University of Guadalajara, the study included 81 children, ages six months to five years.
All the children in the study received oral rehydration fluids to prevent dehydration. Those children given an individually chosen homeopathic medicine recovered from the diarrhea approximately 20% faster than those children given a placebo.
Homeopathic medicines for gastroenteritis
Most commonly used homeopathic medicines for vomiting and diarrhea include:
- Aconite - When days are warm and nights cold. Symptoms usually start around midnight. Diarrhea is accompanied by high-grade fever, anxiety and fear of death.
- Aloe - constant urges for stools with incontinence due to anal sphinter `s weakness. A lot of mucus and pain in rectum after stools. In adults the diarrhea with incontinence is often accompanied by bluish hemorrhoids that protrude like grapes.
- Arsenicum album - symptoms of food poisoning; the person is chilly, very anxious and exhausted, yet restless in bed. Vomiting and diarrhea usually start around 1-3am with burning pain in the abdomen and thirst for small sips of water. Dark stools in small quantities with foul smell.
- Cinchona - painless diarrhea with excessive abdominal gas and exhaustion. Bloated abdomen. Also great medicine for convalescence from diarrhea
- Croton tiglium - frequent, explosive diarrhea, yellow watery stools, redness and eczema around the anal area
- Ipeca - constant nausea with no relief from vomiting, mouth full of saliva, lack of thirst and a surprisingly clean tongue despite the vomiting; green or bloody stools.
- Podophyllum is the most commonly used medicine for tourists` diarrhea. They experience abdominal gurgling, frequent urges to have a stool. Stools are yellowish with offensive smell.
- Mercurius corrosivus - painful bloody diarrhea with sudden onset. Frequent urges and severe burning pain in rectum after stools. Almost constant cutting pain in the abdomen.
- Mercurius solubilis has similar symptoms but is indicated for less severe cases of green or blood- streaked diarrhea. Patients sweat profusely, have offensive breath and are sensitive to extremes of temperature.
- Veratrum album is indicated in chilly patients in prostration due to profuse and painful diarrhea; patients covered in cold sweat with a tendency to collapse. Profuse watery stools. Great thirst for large quantities of cold water.
In the "Research section" section you will find studies on homeopathy`s efficacy in gastroenteritis.