What are Gastrointestinal Diseases and How to Detect Them?
What are Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infections?
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is caused by H. pylori bacteria which grows in the digestive track and infects the stomach. Helicobacter pylori attacks the inner lining of the stomach and reduces the acidity of the stomach by producing an enzyme called urease. H. pylori infections are quite common, especially in children.
What are the signs and symptoms of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) Infection?
As mentioned above, H. pylori infections are very common. In fact, according to Zamani et. Al (2018), approximately 44% of the global population has a H. pylori infection. Nonetheless, most people with a H. pylori infection do not develop any symptoms. However, the infection can cause diseases such as gastritis and peptic ulcers, and lead to an increased risk of stomach cancers by damaging the inner lining of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine.
Which testing and treatment options are available for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection?
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infections can be diagnosed through rapid antigen and antibody test kits such as: blood tests, stool tests, and breath tests. In cases that the results of these tests are inconclusive, your healthcare provider may also suggest getting an upper endoscopy.
Although the specific treatment depends on factors such as disease severity, symptoms, health status, and age, common treatments for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection include antibiotics, stomach lining protectors, proton pump inhibitors, and H-2 blockers.
What is Rotavirus infection?
Rotavirus infection is a highly contagious gastrointestinal disease caused by rotaviruses. It commonly affects young children and transmits mainly through fecal-oral contact. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), rotavirus infections affect the majority of children worldwide before the age of 3 years.
What are the signs and symptoms of Rotavirus infection?
The first symptoms of a rotavirus infection appear within two days of exposure. Healthy adults do not tend to develop serious symptoms; however, children and older adults are more likely to experience prominent symptoms. The most common symptom of rotavirus infection is severe watery diarrhea. In fact, rotavirus infection is the most common cause of diarrheal diseases in young children, which can be fatal due to severe dehydration. Other symptoms of a rotavirus infection include vomiting, fever, fatigue, stomach pain, and dehydration.
Which testing and treatment options are available for Rotavirus infection?
For rotavirus infections there are several rapid antigen and antibody test kit options for the diagnosis. While certain treatments may be applied to manage its symptoms, there is no specific treatment for rotavirus infections. Nonetheless, there are two rotavirus vaccines available. RotaTeq® and Rotarix® are oral vaccines in drop format. According to CDC, these vaccines protect around 9 out of 10 children from severe rotavirus infection, and 7 out of 10 children from getting infected altogether.
What are Adenovirus infections?
Adenoviruses are a group of common viruses that can cause infection throughout the body including the respiratory system, urinary system, nervous system, and the gastrointestinal tract. While it is most common in children, anyone can get an adenovirus infection. There are currently around 50 types of adenoviruses with the ability to infect humans. Adenovirus infections are highly contagious, they can easily transmit via close contact, respiratory droplets, contaminated surfaces, water, or stool.
What are the signs and symptoms of Adenovirus infections?
Symptoms of adenovirus infections depend on the location of the infection. If the adenovirus infects the respiratory system, symptoms resemble those of flu or common cold, which may include cough, fever, sore throat, conjunctivitis, runny nose, acute bronchitis, and pneumonia.
Adenovirus infections in the gastrointestinal tract may cause acute gastroenteritis, which is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
More rarely, adenoviruses might affect the urinary system and the nervous system, which may cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) and conditions such as encephalitis and meningitis, respectively.
Which testing and treatment options are available for Adenovirus infections?
The diagnosis of adenovirus infections is possible by using rapid antigen and antibody test kits like blood tests, urine tests, stool tests, nasal swab; and chest X-ray. Although over-the-counter pain and fever reducers are commonly used to relieve the symptoms, there is no specific treatment for adenovirus infections.
What are Astrovirus infections?
Astroviruses are a group of viruses which cause gastroenteritis. Transmitting via the fecal-oral route, astroviruses are quite common. Still, the most affected groups are young children, older adults, and immunocompromised people.
What are the signs and symptoms of Astrovirus infections?
Symptoms of astrovirus infections are similar to those of rotaviruses but are typically milder in comparison. The most common symptom associated with astrovirus infections is diarrhea. Other symptoms include vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, fever, body pains, and fatigue.
Which testing and treatment options are available for Astrovirus infections?
Astrovirus infections can be diagnosed by rapid test kit using blood or stool, and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests. Although certain treatments may be applied to reduce the symptoms, there is no specific treatment for Astrovirus infections.
What is Celiac disease?
Celiac disease is a digestive and autoimmune disorder which involves an immune response in the small intestine triggered by the consumption of gluten. These immune responses cause damage to the inner lining of the small intestine, resulting in malabsorption. It is a common condition, which, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide.
What are the signs and symptoms of Celiac disease?
The signs and symptoms of celiac disease can vary significantly among patients. In adults, celiac disease typically causes digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, bloating, weight loss, nausea. Other symptoms in adults with celiac disease include fatigue, anemia, hypersplenism, mouth ulcers, a blistering skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis, tingling and numbness in feet and hands, joint pain, and cognitive impairment. In children, celiac disease may cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, gas, swollen belly, chronic diarrhea, along with growth problems due to malabsorption.
If left untreated, celiac disease may increase the risk of long-term complications including malnutrition, osteoporosis, infertility, and nervous system problems such as peripheral neuropathy.
Which testing and treatment options are available for Celiac disease?
The diagnosis of celiac disease may involve certain rapid test kits from blood and a biopsy from the small intestine can also be used for diagnosis. There is currently no treatment for celiac disease. However, adhering to a strict gluten-free diet is known to relieve the symptoms and prevent intestinal damage.
What is Giardia infection?
Giardia infection is an intestinal infection caused by a microscopic parasite called Giardia intestinalis. Giardia intestinalis is a wide-spread parasite and giardia infections are quite common, especially in regions with limited access to sanitation and clean water. Giardia infection transmit mainly through fecal-oral route. Thus, it can spread through contact with infected persons including unprotected sex, and contaminated surfaces. You can also catch a Giardia infection by consuming contaminated foods or water.
What are the signs and symptoms of Giardia infection?
While some people do not develop any symptoms, common signs and symptoms of a Giardia infection include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, flatulence, and weight loss.
Which testing and treatment options are available for Giardia infection?
Giardia infections are usually diagnosed via rapid antigen test kits using fecal samples. However, in more severe cases, an upper endoscopy may also be applied. As for treatment, many people with a Giardia infection recover without additional treatment. However, antiparasitic antibiotics such as metronidazole, tinidazole, or Nitazoxanide are also available with prescription.
What is Cryptosporidiosis?
Cryptosporidiosis, or crypto for short, is contagious intestinal infection caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium. Cryptosporidiosis transmits via the fecal-oral route. Therefore, it can spread by consuming or swallowing contaminated water and foods, or through exposure to the parasite from contaminated hands or sexual contact.
What are the signs and symptoms of Cryptosporidiosis?
Beginning within 2 to 10 days following the initial exposure to the parasite, symptoms of Cryptosporidiosis typically include watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, and dehydration.
Which testing and treatment options are available for Cryptosporidiosis?
Cryptosporidiosis is typically diagnosed via one (rapid antibody or antigen test kits) or multiple stool tests. While young children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals may develop more severe symptoms and require treatment, most people recover without medical treatment. Anti-diarrheal medicines such as nitazoxanide may also be prescribed for people with healthy immune systems.