Gastroenterologists East Orange NJ

Understanding Gastrointestinal (GI) Illnesses and Their Management

Gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses can be quite uncomfortable, often leading to symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, or fever. At our healthcare center, located in East Orange, NJ, we specialize in treating various GI illnesses to help you regain your health and well-being.

What Are Gastrointestinal or Digestive Illnesses?

GI diseases and illnesses encompass a broad range of conditions affecting the digestive system, which includes the throat, stomach, and intestines. These can range from acute, short-term illnesses, often colloquially referred to as “stomach bugs,” to more chronic diagnoses like Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which may require specialized, long-term treatment.

Gastrointestinal disorders can take various forms, such as viral gastroenteritis, food poisoning, and even constipation. In this article, we’ll explore some of the common short-term GI illnesses we encounter at our East Orange, NJ healthcare facility.

Fun Fact: The National Institutes of Health reports that between 60 and 70 million people are affected by digestive diseases each year.

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Recognizing the Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Illnesses

Most GI ailment symptoms are relatively easy to identify. These conditions often begin with abdominal discomfort and nausea, with specific symptoms varying based on the type of ailment. Let’s delve into some of the common GI disorders and infections.

Viral Gastroenteritis (“Stomach Flu”)

Viral gastroenteritis, often mistakenly referred to as the “stomach flu,” is not influenza but rather an infection affecting the intestines. It is typically contracted through contact with an infected individual or by ingesting contaminated food or water. Common symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Cramping
  • A low-grade fever
  • Nausea

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning occurs when you consume food contaminated by infectious organisms like salmonella, listeria, or E. coli. This can happen with undercooked or mishandled food. Symptoms usually manifest eight to 12 hours after consumption and can last for one to two days. Food poisoning often starts with abdominal cramping and may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Cramps

Gastrointestinal Infections

Gastrointestinal infections can result from viruses, bacteria, or parasites taking residence in your GI tract. Viral and bacterial infections typically resolve in a few days, whereas parasitic infections may necessitate medical treatment. Symptoms encompass:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Vomiting
  • Parasitic infections, like pinworms (common among school-age children), may lead to difficulty sleeping, restlessness, and itching around the infected area.


Constipation, a common but usually temporary disorder, is often caused by inactivity, a diet rich in dairy products, or insufficient fiber and water intake. It typically resolves within a few days and includes symptoms like:

  • Difficulty with bowel movements
  • Bloating

Morning Sickness

While commonly associated with pregnancy, morning sickness can strike at any time of the day, especially during the first trimester. Contrary to its name, it’s not a “true sickness” but rather a result of hormonal fluctuations. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Diagnosing Gastrointestinal Illnesses

Given the wide range of diagnoses within the realm of GI illnesses, our healthcare team will inquire about your symptoms and recent activities to aid in diagnosis. In cases of chronic disorders, patients may be referred to a gastroenterologist, who can provide guidance on lifestyle adjustments, dietary changes, medications, or symptom management. If a severe underlying disorder is suspected, immediate referral to the emergency department may be necessary.

Treating GI Disorders

Treatment for GI disorders varies depending on the diagnosis, but general care for stomach or digestive troubles may involve:

  • Rest and ample fluid intake.
  • Following the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast), which is easy on the stomach. Simultaneously, avoid dairy, grease, and spicy foods as they can exacerbate digestive discomfort.
  • Over-the-counter medications for symptom relief, such as laxatives for constipation.
  • After a medical evaluation, prescription medications may be administered to control symptoms like nausea and facilitate rehydration. In suitable cases, anti-nausea medications and IV rehydration may be recommended.

At our Urgent Care in East Orange, NJ healthcare facility, we’re dedicated to providing comprehensive care for various GI illnesses, ensuring you receive the assistance you need to regain your health and well-being. If you require our services, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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