Gastrointestinal Illnesses

Gastrointestinal Illnesses

Gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses often cause unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, or fever. At Vital Urgent Care, we provide treatment for various GI illnesses to help you regain your well-being.

So, what exactly are Gastrointestinal or Digestive Illnesses? They encompass any ailments related to the digestive system, including the throat, stomach, and intestines. These ailments can be acute, short-term illnesses commonly known as "stomach bugs" that manifest with uncomfortable symptoms as they run their course through your system.

GI diseases can also be chronic, like Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), requiring specialized long-term treatment. There are several types of GI illnesses, including viral gastroenteritis, food poisoning, and even constipation. On this page, we will explore some of the most common short-term GI illnesses encountered at Vital Urgent Care.

Fun Fact: According to the National Institutes of Health, digestive diseases affect between 60 and 70 million people each year.

Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Illnesses are generally recognizable. These disorders usually begin with abdominal discomfort and nausea, and the specific symptoms may vary depending on the ailment. GI disorders or infections may present as:

  1. Viral Gastroenteritis (“Stomach Flu”): This digestive illness, often mistaken for the flu, is actually an infection affecting the intestines. It can be contracted from an infected person or by consuming contaminated food or water. Symptoms include vomiting, watery diarrhea, cramping, low-grade fever, and nausea.
  2. Food Poisoning: Caused by consuming food contaminated with infectious organisms like salmonella, listeria, or E. coli, food poisoning typically manifests with abdominal cramping. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and cramps. Symptoms usually appear within 8 to 12 hours after eating and last for one to two days.
  3. Gastrointestinal Infections: These infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites that settle in the GI tract. Viral and bacterial infections usually resolve within a few days, while parasitic infections may require medical treatment. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, and vomiting. In the case of parasitic infections like pinworms (common among school-age children), additional symptoms may include difficulty sleeping, restlessness, and itching around the infection site.
  4. Constipation: A temporary disorder often resulting from inactivity, limited fiber or water intake, or excessive consumption of dairy products. Constipation usually resolves within a few days and presents with trouble passing bowel movements and bloating.
  5. Morning Sickness: Experienced by many pregnant women, morning sickness can occur at any time of the day. It is primarily caused by hormonal fluctuations in the body, particularly during the first trimester of pregnancy. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting.

At Vital Urgent Care, we are here to provide the necessary care and support for individuals experiencing gastrointestinal illnesses.

Diagnosing Gastrointestinal Illnesses

When it comes to GI illnesses, there are numerous diagnoses to consider. To help make an accurate diagnosis, your Vital Urgent Care medical team will ask about your symptoms, recent activities, and other relevant information. In cases of chronic disorders, patients may be referred to a gastroenterologist. These specialists can assist in determining necessary lifestyle adjustments, dietary changes, medication management, and symptom control. If your healthcare provider suspects a serious underlying disorder, they may recommend immediate referral to the emergency department.

Treating a GI Disorder

Treatment for stomach or digestive issues can vary depending on the specific diagnosis. However, general care may involve the following:

  • Resting and staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Following the BRAT diet, which consists of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These foods are gentle on the stomach and offer their own unique benefits. Conversely, it is advisable to avoid dairy, greasy foods, and spices, as they can aggravate the digestive system.
  • Using over-the-counter medications to alleviate symptoms, such as laxatives for constipation.
  • After being examined by a healthcare professional, appropriate medications may be prescribed to provide relief from symptoms like nausea. This can improve comfort and aid in rehydration. In certain cases, anti-nausea medications and/or IV rehydration might be administered.


1 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Digestive Diseases Statistic for the United States Published: Nov. 2014. Last accessed: March 16, 2023.

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