Digestive Health

Updated 05 May 2017

What is gastroenteritis?

'Gastroenteritis' means inflammation of the stomach and intestines.


Gastroenteritis is an acute infectious syndrome caused by a micro-organism ingested in contaminated food or water or from other sources.

The virus or bacterium affects the stomach lining and intestines, causing some or all of the following symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps. It sometimes also causes more general symptoms such as fever and headache.

 Gastroenteritis is also called:

  • Gastro
  • Gastric flu
  • Diarrhoeal disease
  • Traveller's diarrhoea
  • Food poisoning

Read more:

Causes of gastroenteritis

Symptoms of gastroenteritis

Treating gastroenteritis

Reviewed by Dr Karin Richter, MMed Path (Medical Virology), FC Path(SA) Viro, Dip HIV Man (SA), Dip Obst (SA), MBChB , Clinical Virologist, Senior Lecturer, Department of Medical Virology, University of Pretoria, Faculty of Health Sciences, and Consultant Pathologist, Tshwane Academic Division, National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS)

Previously reviewed by Dr Eftyhia Vardas BSc (Hons), MBBCh, DTM&H, DPH, FC Path (Virol), MMed (Virol), Clinical Virologist, Director HIV AIDS Vaccine Division. 


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Digestive Health Expert

Dr. Estelle Wilken is a Senior Specialist in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology at Tygerberg Hospital. She obtained her MBChB in 1976, her MMed (Int) in 1991 and her gastroenterology registration in 1995.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules