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Stomach Trouble That Could Be COVID-19, According to Doctors

Trust your gut when it comes to anything out of the ordinary—it may be coronavirus.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The coronavirus death totals are staggering: Recently, we lost more than 4,000 Americans in one day to COVID-19. Left uncounted are the thousands of people who got COVID and survived, only to be left with long-lasting symptoms. Now, a new study involving 3,762 "long haulers"—for that is what those people have been dubbed—has pinpointed the most common signs of long COVID, including those related to gastrointestinal illness. According to their research, these are the most common gastro symptoms of long COVID, ranked from least common to most common. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


You Might Vomit

Woman Feeling Nauseous

Vomiting is a sign of COVID—and can last long after the virus has left your body. One long-hauler was surprised to discover he was constantly throwing up—not because there was anything wrong with his belly, but because COVID was causing migraines. "In a recent study performed by the American Journal of Gastroenterology, researchers found that 50.5% of the 204 patients they analyzed reported some sort of digestive symptom, including loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain," according to Ochsner Health. "The study also noted that as the severity of COVID-19 increased for the patient, digestive symptoms became more pronounced."


You Might Have Hyperactive Bowel Sensations

Middle aged woman suffering from abdominal pain while sitting on bed at home

You or your doctor might hear strange things coming from your stomach. "Increased (hyperactive) bowel sounds can sometimes be heard even without a stethoscope," reports the Pediatrix Medical Group. "Hyperactive bowel sounds mean there is an increase in intestinal activity. This can sometimes occur with diarrhea and after eating. Abdominal sounds are always evaluated together with symptoms such as:

  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Presence or absence of bowel movements
  • Vomiting"


You Might Suffer Constipation

upset woman in toilet by diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids, piles

If you have an unordinary bout of constipation, be concerned, especially if it's in tandem with any of the other symptoms mentioned here. It can be the sign of mild COVID or that you're a long-hauler. "Failure to recognize these patients early and often may lead to unwitting spread of the disease among outpatients with mild illness who remain undiagnosed and unaware of their potential to infect others," says one study.


You Might Feel Full Quickly When Eating

Woman Suffering a Stomachache after Eating in a Restaurant

"If you consistently feel full sooner than normal or after eating less than usual, get checked by your doctor," says the Mayo Clinic. "This feeling, known as early satiety, also might be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, bloating or weight loss. If so, be sure to tell your doctor about these signs and symptoms as well."


You Might Feel a Gastroesophageal Reflux

choking woman while drinking water

"Burning or discomfort under the breast bone, a sour taste in the mouth or difficulty swallowing may signal heartburn," reports the Memorial Hermann Foundation. "Known as acid reflux or gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), it can be due to weakness of the valve between the esophagus and stomach, which could be from a hiatal hernia," or from COVID-19.


You Might Have Abdominal Pain

Senior man with stomach pain

"Recent literature has revealed that as many as 20 percent of patients present to the hospital with a digestive symptom, such as diarrhea, vomiting, pain, accompanying their respiratory symptoms," says Diagnostic Imaging. "And, roughly 5 percent show up with an abdominal complaint alone."


You Might Have Nausea

Tired African-American man having headache after hard day, feeling exhausted

This is unfortunately a very common long hauler symptom. "In June I was able to progress to working with resistance bands, and in July, I finally managed to lift a barbell again," writes long hauler Poorna Bell in the Independent. "I genuinely thought Covid was over. Until the last week of August, when after a week of working out and working hard, I felt that crushing sense of fatigue and the nausea return overnight. It has now been three weeks, and my energy levels have completely dropped."

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Just Said When We'd Be Back to "Normal"


You Might Have a Loss of Appetite

Displeased young woman doesn't want to eat her breakfast

"A survey of 640 U.S. long hauler patients in April and May by the 'Patient-led Research for COVID-19' group compiled a list of 62 symptoms they reported suffering, such as chills or sweats, 'brain fog,' trouble sleeping, and loss of appetite. Their symptoms typically fluctuated in intensity and frequency, with patients feeling better for days or weeks at a time, only to relapse with old or even new symptoms," reports the Center for Science in the Public Interest.


You Are Most Likely to Have Diarrhea

An Asian woman storing tissue toilet paper during Coronavirus outbreak or Covid-19, Concept of Covid-19 quarantine

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has listed this as a COVID symotom and it can affect you long after you've shed the virus. "What's considered normal for bowel movements varies widely," says the Mayo Clinic. "Consult your doctor if you notice unusual or unexplained changes in what's normal for you, such as:

  • Bloody, black or tarry-colored stools
  • Persistent diarrhea or constipation
  • Unexplained urges to have a bowel movement"


How to Survive This Pandemic

Portrait of adult female doctor sitting at desk in office clinic

If you experience any of the symptoms you've read about here, contact a medical professional immediately to discuss your symptoms and getting either a COVID-19 test or an antibody test. As for yourself, follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek