Q. Can gastrointestinal infection last for three months?

Answered by
Dr. Ramesh Kumar S
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
Published on Oct 10, 2017

Hello doctor,

I am a 29 year old male, and I am concerned about my health. I had an episode of possible food-borne illness, three months back. That time, I had shivers, fluttering pain in lower abdomen, fever, and high bilirubin. The symptoms have gone, except for occasional fluttering. My bilirubin went down, and I had fluttering and gas on and off for a month afterward. I had a lot of spicy and fried food, so the pain returned. I did an ultrasound of the entire abdomen and kidneys, which came back negative. I still have the fluttering, with on and off abdominal pain. I also had some itching for a few days over the past month. Today, I had one normal bowel movement and another which had floating stools. Any idea what is going on with me? Can a gastrointestinal infection last for three months? I do not smoke, but I drink occasionally. I do not have a family history of gallbladder or pancreatic cancer. Thanks for your help.

Dr. Ramesh Kumar S

Internal Medicine Medical Gastroenterology


Welcome to icliniq.com.

  • Most likely, it is gastroenteritis or stomach flu. Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that involves the stomach and small intestine. Signs and symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, backache, lack of energy, and dehydration. However, it is not necessary that all symptoms are present in every patient.
  • I suggest getting an ultrasound scan of the abdomen, stool routine and microscopy, to rule out bacterial infection. If a bacterial infection is there, a short-term antibiotic treatment will help.
  • Our gut consists of its environment of microorganisms called gut flora. They are responsible for proper digestion of food. Once this flora is depleted by toxins released by bacteria, many of gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, belching, vomiting, constipation, loose stools, etc., can be there.
  • I would suggest you do the following:
  1. Take a good probiotic for a week. This will replenish the depleted flora. Once the flora is replenished, intestinal motility and secretions will be improved.
  2. Tablet Pantoprazole 40 mg, once daily before breakfast can be taken along with it to provide relief.
  3. Drink a lot of fluid and electrolytes to replenish the level in blood, as sodium and potassium are lost in vomiting and loose motions.
  4. Eat 30 to 40 g of fiber per day.
  5. Have Ispaghula husk, two teaspoons, twice daily.
  6. Drink a lot of orange juice and coconut water.
  7. Eat a lot of vegetable and fibrous fruits like oranges and pears.
  8. Do not smoke or drink.
  9. Do not eat fast food, and fried or spicy food.
  10. Take lots of yogurt.

For further queries consult a medical gastroenterologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/medical-gastroenterologist

Hi doctor,

Thanks for your answer. I had an ultrasound of my abdomen already and it came back negative. This was six weeks ago. Should I be worried about early pancreatic cancer or the function of my gallbladder?

Dr. Ramesh Kumar S

Internal Medicine Medical Gastroenterology


Welcome back to icliniq.com.

  • As of now, I would suggest you follow my advice for at least a week. If your symptoms are not relieved, we can go for a CT abdomen and repeat ultrasound of the abdomen, to rule out any doubts. Please enclose all previous reports with your follow-up.

Revert with more information to a medical gastroenterologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/medical-gastroenterologist

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