You kept running to the loo when you caught gastroenteritis.

Bacterial or viral gastroenteritis affects approximately 8 out of 10 people every year1. It is a common cause of diarrhoea and can have a number of triggers, from Norovirus to drinking contaminated water. Most people have experienced food poisoning at some point, but you might not know that the medical condition behind this is gastroenteritis.

Viral or bacterial gastroenteritis

Diarrhoea is the main symptom of the common stomach condition known as viral or bacterial gastroenteritis. This infection of the stomach and intestines can also cause nausea and vomiting, headaches and a mild fever and affects approximately 8 out of 10 people every year2. The most common causes of gastroenteritis are: food poisoning, Traveller’s diarrhoea & Norovirus. Symptoms usually pass in a few days but some vulnerable groups, including young children, the sick and the elderly, will need medical advice. You should seek medical opinion if you experience fever or blood in your stool.

Gastroenteritis can also be highly infectious, so if you do get it you should try to stay at home for a few days and make sure you wash your hands regularly if you’re in contact with others.

Food poisoning

If you eat contaminated food or drink contaminated water, there is a good chance you will get gastroenteritis. The ailment commonly known as Travellers’ Diarrhoea is often gastroenteritis caused by food poisoning, although it can also be caused by other factors.

Food poisoning, or infection from drinking contaminated water, are common complaints when travelling abroad, but they can also happen when you’re at home. You should always be careful that food is cooked properly, don’t leave food lying around and wash your hands before eating.


Norovirus, otherwise known as the Winter Vomiting Bug is another common cause of gastroenteritis. It often results in episodes of diarrhoea and can disrupt your life’s natural rhythm. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Using an over-the-counter diarrhoea medicine such as IMODIUM® can help bring your life back in rhythm. You can find out more about the Norovirus here.

Non infectious

Occasional diarrhoea is often caused by bacterial or viral infection, but it can also be the result of menstruation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or lifestyle factors such as stress and anxiety and these factors can lead to more frequent diarrhoea. You can relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of diarrhoea by taking IMODIUM®.


IMODIUM® has been helping diarrhoea sufferers for years. Get quick answers to common questions and advice on key diarrhoea related topics.

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