I am a normally healthy 33 year old woman, but

Patient

Q: I am a normally healthy 33 year old woman, but i have been ill repeatedly over the last 10 months or so, e.g. with four or five debilitating episodes of vomiting and diarrhoea as well as at least 4 episodes of flu like symptoms lasting from a few days to several weeks. It is beginning to impact my career and it means i have less energy to look after my 1 year old daughter at home. Any ideas? I am healthy weight and dont drink much alcohol.

Doctor

A:   Hello,
Thanks for writing to us.
I have read your case and can understand your situation.
There are many causes of prolonged diarrhea and vomiting but its coexistence with flu symptoms indicate viral gastroenteritis. It is caused by rota and noroviruses. Also known as the stomach flu, viral gastroenteritis can affect anyone throughout the world. This highly contagious illness spreads through close contact with people who are infected, or through contaminated food or water.

Symptoms usually begin one or two days after infection and include:

watery diarrhea
nausea and vomiting
headache, muscle aches, joint aches
fever, chills
sweating, clammy skin
abdominal cramps and pain
loss of appetite

There are some self-care steps you can take.
Drink extra fluids with and between meals. If you have difficulty drinking, try very small amounts of water or suck on ice chips.
Avoid fruit juices, as these do not replace minerals and can actually increase diarrhea.
Eat food in small amounts and let your stomach recover.
Get lots of rest. You may feel tired or weak.

It is advisable for you to see your doctor who may get your stool sample checked and treat you accordingly.
For symptomatic relief anti diarrhea drug like loperamide and anti emetic like metacloperamide can be taken.
Hope I have solved your query.Feel free to write back.
Regards

Comments / Follow Ups

Patient: Thanks. Would it be normal to have gastroenteritis over a 10 month period though? I'm not constantly sick, it comes and goes every few weeks, sometimes flu, sometimes stomach. Also, I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum when I was pregnant, and to be honest I feel like I never recovered from that, even when I stopped breastfeeding when my daughter was 8 months and hoped I would have more energy. I never did.
Patient: Hello - is anyone going to follow up? I am not happy with the first answer I received - surely you can't have gastroenteritis for 10 months?
Doctor: Hello,
Thanks for writing back.
Sorry for delayed reply.
Since you mentioned it comes and goes viral gastroenteritis may keep on recurring if exposure to virus in form of contaminated water and food is there or with person who is infected for eg. person who is making food in office/home.
one more possibility can be irritable bowel syndrome which is a mix of belly discomfort or pain and trouble with bowel habits: either going more or less often than normal (diarrhea or constipation) or having a different kind of stool (thin, hard, or soft and liquid). This can happen post flu or viral illness.
You can get some tests done to rule out irritable bowel syndrome and other causes :
Total leucocyte count
Differential leucocyte count
Serum platelets
Ultrasound abdomen
Stool test
Thyroid profile
Endoscopy, colonoscopy (on consultation with doctor)

These tests will help to identify main cause of repeated episodes of vomiting,diarrhea and flu. Also avoid stress and caffeine. Take more water and eat frequent but smaller meals will help you.
Hope this helps.
Feel free to write back.
Regards

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