Gastrointestinal effects of COVID-19 highlighted in new study

Gastrointestinal effects of COVID-19 highlighted in new study

Written by Timothy Huzar on November 10, 2020 — Fact checked by Harriet Pike, Ph.D.

A new study has highlighted the prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms in people with COVID-19 and what signs abdominal radiologists should look out for.


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In a new study, researchers have synthesized evidence from 36 scientific articles to highlight the prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms in people with COVID-19.

The study, appearing in the journal Abdominal Radiology, also identifies some of the signs abdominal radiologists should look out for when imaging people.

Stay informed with live updates on the current COVID-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.

COVID-19 unknowns

One of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the fact that SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus. While sharing some similarities with the previous severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), SARS-CoV-2 also has many differences.

As time progresses, scientists can conduct research on the virus to discover some of these unknowns and therefore help inform effective policy decisions and clinical practices. This has been the case with the symptoms of COVID-19.

While scientists have been aware of the most common symptoms — fever, coughing, loss of smell or taste, and shortness of breath — for some time, they have only recently identified other less common but significant symptoms.

As Dr. Mitch Wilson, a radiologist and clinical lecturer at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and co-author of the study points out, “[t]here’s a growing amount of literature showing that abdominal symptomatology is a common presentation for COVID-19.”

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