Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach and the intestines, which can occur at any age for a variety of reasons. Symptoms may be mild or severe and range from abdominal aches and nausea to vomiting and diarrhoea, all may be with or without fever. These ‘tummy upsets’ can be very serious in children, the elderly or the infirm because associated fluid loss from vomiting and diarrhoea can lead to dehydration and biochemical changes. Gastroenteritis can be caused by:
Viruses and bacteria that are ingested;
Excessively spicy foods;
Even a change of diet for those particularly sensitive;
Stress, which causes an excess of acid production in the stomach can lead to inflammation through the entire intestinal tract.
Any persisting abdominal complaints or symptoms that are sudden or severe must be reviewed by a physician to rule out any other cause.
Ensure adequate replenishment of water and fluids with natural sugars and salts. Proprietary electrolyte replacement fluids are fine but natural alternatives include thin broths and soups, dilute fruit juices and herbal teas.
Avoid foods that are hard to digest, such as proteins, fats and fried foods. Milk, alcohol and caffeine should all be avoided.
A hot drink made of two teaspoonfuls of chamomile and one teaspoonful each of rosemary, sage and honey in one pint of boiled hot water, a cup of which should be drunk every 15min to half an hour, is of benefit.
Half a tablespoonful of fennel seeds with dried peppermint leaves and a pinch of sodium bicarbonate may be relieving but cannot be used if a homeopathic remedy is employed. 1 Berberis fluid extract can be drunk four times per day. 1 Homeopathic remedies are beneficial but need to be selected based on the symptoms. Please review the sections here on whichever other symptoms are prominent or refer to your preferred homeopathic manual. ‘ Yoghurt bacteria tablets may be beneficial. Take 250,000 units of any Acidophilus or derivative per foot of height three times a day.
Ensure that the individual washes the hands after going to the bathroom because transmission of the causative organism in gastroenteritis is quite common.