Vomiting & Diarrhea

Vomiting & Diarrhea

What causes vomiting and diarrhea?

Vomiting and diarrhea (loose, watery bowel motions) are often caused by a gastrointestinal (gut) infection – commonly known as gastro or stomach flu. When a person experiences vomiting and diarrhea, they lose a large amount of fluid and electrolytes.

FACT: Dehydration is the biggest health risk associated with vomiting and diarrhea.

The dehydration process:


Common symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue / Lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Dark yellow urine, or decreased urine output
  • Sticky or dry mouth
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Irritability

What is stomach flu and what are the symptoms?

Stomach flu (or gastro) is an infection of the gut, which causes vomiting and diarrhea (loose, watery bowel motions) – viral or bacterial infections are often to blame. You usually catch stomach flu if you eat or drink food or water that is contaminated with infections (caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites). You can also catch it if you come into contact with a person who is unwell, such as by breathing in vomit particles that spray into the air (they can fly as far as 10 feet!).

Other names for stomach flu infections include gastro, food poisoning, travelers’ diarrhea, gastro flu, norovirus, Montezuma’s revenge.

You can probably remember the most common symptoms of stomach flu – vomiting and diarrhea. Sometimes you can also feel tired and have a slight fever. Through vomiting and diarrhea you lose a large amount of fluid and electrolytes – an average male can lose up to 3.2 QT (3 L) of fluid during a case of stomach flu*! This loss of fluid and electrolytes causes mild to moderate dehydration. Hydralyte-stomach-flu-3-liters-dehydration

Dehydration is the BIGGEST health risk associated with stomach flu. When you get dehydrated you feel symptoms such as a dry mouth, thirst, dizziness, tiredness and headaches. If dehydration becomes severe, you can end up in hospital on a fluid drip. Dehydration occurs more quickly for small babies, children and older people.

*Mild dehydration, 4% fluid deficit, in a 176 lbs adult.

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