Gastrointestinal Symptoms and COVID-19

Can diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, loss of taste be a sign of COVID 19? The answer is yes. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) presents with multiple symptoms. Many patients may not have the typical respiratory symptoms, instead, they may present with digestive symptoms. Up to 25% of COVID patients present with symptoms of diarrhea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and loss of taste (combined with loss of smell). Patients who present with digestive symptoms may have delayed diagnosis and may have longer delay before they clear the virus. In some cases, the digestive symptoms, like diarrhea, can be the initial presentation of COVID-19, and may only later or never present with respiratory symptoms and fever. Due to the fact that currently, New York represents the epicenter of coronavirus pandemic, it is important for patients to pay attention to their symptoms and contact their doctor or a gastroenterologist immediately. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that diarrhea and abdominal pain could be caused by multiple other causes such as food poisoning, bacterial infections, gastric ulcers, and others. Your gastroenterologist can guide you in this situation to ascertain that your diagnosis is made correctly and appropriate treatment is provided.

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