Coronavirus and Your Guts
- The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause muscle and body aches, sore throat, and other physical symptoms.
- COVID-19 has been linked to various gut health issues that can replicate those associated with other medical conditions.
- Proper COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment is key, regardless of symptoms.
- If people dealing with gut problems receive a medical evaluation, they can determine if the root cause of their issues is COVID-19 or another medical condition.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause a wide range of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal (GI) issues. In this episode of the Smile podcast, world-renowned facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Babak Azizzadeh and gastroenterologist and hepatology expert Dr. Siamak Tabib explore COVID-19’s impact on the gut.
COVID-19 Symptoms: Here’s What You Need to Know
The coronavirus can cause difficulty breathing and other respiratory issues. It has also been linked to fatigue, headache, sore throat, fever, chills, and other physical symptoms. Yet, many people are unaware that COVID-19 can severely affect the GI tract.
COVID-19 symptoms frequently replicate those associated with the common cold, flu, and other medical conditions. So, if people experience GI symptoms, they may believe these symptoms will quickly subside on their own. These GI symptoms, however, can be warning signs of a COVID-19 infection.
To date, research has shown that COVID-19 patients may experience GI problems prior to fever and lower respiratory tract issues. Coronavirus-related GI problems can occur independently of other symptoms and escalate as an infection worsens. But, if people can identify GI issues in their early stages, they are well-equipped to find out if they are dealing with COVID and treat their symptoms appropriately.
How to Treat GI Symptoms That Are Related to a COVID-19 Infection
For those who experience GI symptoms and believe they may have been infected by COVID-19, they should consult with their doctor. At this time, people can get tested for COVID-19.
If people are diagnosed with COVID-19, they must quarantine accordingly. This allows COVID-19 patients to avoid inadvertently spreading the coronavirus to others. Following a COVID-19 infection, GI issues and other physical symptoms should disappear, due to the fact that the body has built up the appropriate antibodies to combat the coronavirus.
Comparatively, if people are tested for COVID-19 and find they are not dealing with a coronavirus infection, they may need additional evaluations to determine why their GI symptoms are occurring. In these instances, people may be dealing with food sensitivities or other issues that can hamper the GI function.
Seeking medical help enables people dealing with GI issues — regardless of whether they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 — to find ways to manage these problems now and in the future. Doctors can offer expert insights into myriad health issues that can contribute to GI symptoms. Furthermore, they can provide a personalized treatment to help a patient alleviate GI problems going forward.
Are GI Symptoms Life-Threatening?
GI symptoms can be fatal, particularly if they go undiagnosed and untreated for an extended period of time. These symptoms can make it tough for people to maintain a healthy gut. They can also be a sign of COVID-19 or other serious health problems, including cancer.
Various tests can be performed to ensure a patient can receive the proper treatment for any GI problems. For instance, a colonoscopy can be used to assess the large intestine and identify colon cancer. Once this type of cancer is identified, a doctor can offer medicines and other treatment options to help slow or stop its growth.
Maintaining a nutrient-rich diet may help people avoid long-lasting GI health issues, too. By eating plenty of foods loaded with vitamins and minerals, people can increase the likelihood of avoiding GI problems.
Learn More About GI Health from Dr. Azizzadeh and Dr. Tabib
In episode nine of the Smile podcast, Dr. Azizzadeh and Dr. Tabib take an in-depth look at coronavirus and the guts, as well as offer tips and recommendations to help people improve their gut health. For more information, please download this episode today.