Digestive Problems After Covid-19

Digestive Problems After Covid-19

Digestive Problems After Covid-19- With the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic taking the country by storm and the number of patients escalating, respiratory symptoms have been the most common. At the same time, the number of patients reporting digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) problems have increased tremendously. A number of cases have proven that a majority of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 have experienced at least one gastrointestinal (GI) symptom at some point of time during their illness.

Signs & symptoms and Signs to watch out for

Some of the most common GI symptoms associated with COVID-19 include the lack of appetite, smell/taste, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting or both, indigestion, belching, GI bleeding in which the patient vomits up blood, abdominal pain and in quite a few cases, intestinal inflammation or colitis. A lot of people who have recovered from COVID-19 also complain of constipation, bloating, acid reflux, irritable bowel diseases and reduced intestinal movement.

How does COVID-19 cause digestive problems?

Most of the studies have shown that the SARS-CoV-2 virus enters intestinal cells or enterocytes, and respiratory cells using the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) proteins as a receptor. These ACE-2 receptors that lie implanted in cellular membranes help in regulating blood pressure by controlling levels of the protein angiotensin that enables blood vessels to constrict and increase blood pressure. It is through the spike-like proteins that bind to ACE-2 through which the virus enters intestinal cells, just like how it enters respiratory cells.

After the virus enters the intestinal cells, the virus produces copies of viral proteins and ribonucleic acid (RNA), i.e., the genetic materials of the SARS-CoV-2, by using the cells’ own machinery. The instance intestinal cells are infected by the virus, it stimulates the release of cytokines which are small proteins involved in inflammation. According to various researches, it is this process that may cause gastrointestinal symptoms of COVID-19.

Some of the other causes of GI symptoms are caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus infecting and damaging the gastrointestinal tissues. The most common causes of nausea and diarrhoea include the effects of antibiotics and antivirals and the impact of the virus on the vagus nerve. According to some researches, COVID-19 may also be responsible for alterations in the microbiota which is the community of microbes that are usually found in the intestines or stomach.

Who are more vulnerable?

People who have had pre-existing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at higher risk of contracting viral infections.

People who are on medication on a daily basis for various reasons are vulnerable to get infected since some of the medicines for inflammatory bowel movement weaken the immune system. People with viral infections in their respiratory as well as gastrointestinal have double the risk as compared to those with viral infections in only their respiratory tract owing to the fact that the patients are exposed to increased viral load.

Another more vulnerable group of people who may have more severe GI infections are those with various other symptoms associated with multiple organs/diseases which not only raises the risk to be far more easily infected but also take much longer to heal and recuperate from the disease. The early waves of Covid-19 have been seen to affect adults much more severely as compared to children. Experts believe that this is so because of the lower activity of ACE2 receptors in children that lowers the risk for the SARS-CoV-2 virus to enter and infect. However, children have not been exempted from GI problems and in a high number of cases, digestive problems have been observed to be the sole symptom in many COVID-19 infected children.

How can you fight gastrointestinal problems caused by COVID-19?

COVID-19 symptoms may overwhelm most people since many of them resemble signs of most common communicable diseases but the presence of such symptoms does not solely imply that you have COVID-19. Having understood that, Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre urges you to take all necessary precautions to avoid SARS-CoV-2 by wearing a mask, maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene and most importantly, getting vaccinated.

There is no better treatment for COVID-19 than taking all essential precautions. However, people who have contracted COVID-19 need not worry because Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre is here to guide you through some of the most effective measures to avoid and prevent digestive problems caused by COVID-19 from worsening:

Dietary adaptation: Eat on time and avoid any means of starving yourself as well as overeating. Replenish carb levels in your diet to balance bowel movement by adding foods such as white rice, boiled potatoes, oats etc. Stay away from sugar, limit intake of caffeine and refrain from smoking and alcohol. Switch to bland diet by avoiding spicy, fried and processed foods which can inflame the lining of the intestines.

Fluid intake: Keeping yourself hydrated is extremely important since symptoms like diarrhoea and vomiting often dehydrate the body. Drink enough water and increase the intake of ORS (oral rehydration solution), coconut water and fresh fruit juices.

Controlled activity: Although challenging, regular exercise is vital for digestive health. Home exercises such as regular walks and yoga are highly recommended. Also, maintain a good sleep pattern consciously.

Maintain hygiene: To avoid further infection, it is always advisable for patients to avoid sharing washrooms to prevent the risk of spreading the illness to others. Sanitising personal areas is a necessity to eliminate digestive and gastrointestinal problems caused by COVID-19.

Whom to consult?

With COVID-19, digestive and gastrointestinal problems are inevitable in most cases but with the right supervision, they can be taken care of most effectively. Our experts at Yashoda’s Centre for Digestive & Liver Disease are ever ready to help you cope with your GI problems by designing the best diet plan for you as they monitor and regulate your treatment regularly.

Yashoda Hospital

Yashoda Hospital

Yashoda Hospital is one of the best super specialty hospitals in Ghaziabad, Noida & Delhi NCR. Yashoda Hospital aims at providing the best healthcare services across the country and not just in Delhi NCR, Ghaziabad & Noida. Being a super speciality hospital, Yashoda Hospital has a number of dedicated specialities under one roof- gastroenterology, general surgery, obstetrics & gynaecology, cardiology, pulmonology & internal medicine, orthopedics, urology and many more.

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