Is Diarrhea One Of The Symptoms For Covid-19?

By Dr Nagabhushan - Senior Consultant Gastrointestinal & Colorectal Surgeon, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has taken over the world and has put the world in crisis! During these difficult and testing times we need to be together and do our best to fight this pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised people to use hand sanitizers and take precautions. National Government has ordered us to stay at home and maintain social distancing as much as possible.

This deadly virus that originated in Wuhan, China belongs to the species of respiratory illnesses that generally include the common cold, flu, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and also the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Patients tend to exhibit pneumonia-like symptoms, especially fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing. The symptoms for COVID-19 are initially similar to the common flu and as the virus spreads in your body the symptoms start to vary day-by-day.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath. But as the number of cases have increased there are new symptoms that some patients experience. Researchers have started warning that one of the least common symptoms may be diarrhea and other digestive issues such as vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain. They believe that this may account to around 10% of the patients.

Recently, a lot of patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 faced gastrointestinal symptoms, as one of the initial signs of this illness. It was even proven that people with digestive symptoms showed a need for medical care quite later compared to those with respiratory symptoms. People with digestive problems were in a severe state by the 16th day, whereas patients with respiratory problems were affected by the 11th day. Those with digestive symptoms also took more time to recover from the virus. There are also concerns that this group of patients may continue to shed the virus in their stools for longer and in the process account for further spread.

Digestive problems are very common in people and need not necessarily mean that a person is infected with COVID-19. But it is important to realize that sudden digestive symptoms can be one of the initial stages of having a COVID-19 virus and you should try consulting the doctor. This is for your own safety as well as for your family and the community.

If you have had severe digestive symptoms since the past couple of days, it is likely that you may be in the high-risk group. You should consult your doctor immediately. If possible, call ahead and book an appointment and let them know you’re on your way and you suspect the symptoms that may be related to COVID-19. With the on-going situation, we advise you not to ignore any symptoms as this may cost you the lives of you and your nearest and dearest.

Dr Nagabhushan,
Senior Consultant Gastrointestinal & Colorectal Surgeon, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of the organization.

Tags: Coronavirus   

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