COVID-19 and Digestive Issues | News | Loyola Medicine
Thursday, June 4, 2020

COVID-19 and Digestive Issues

Loyola Medicine gastroenterologist provides advice for managing symptoms and reducing the risk of spreading the coronavirus within the home

image of a person grabbing their stomach

MAYWOOD, IL—Nearly half of COVID-19 patients have digestive issues—vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal pain. In a new Loyola Medicine video, “Coronavirus (COVID-19): Digestive and GI Symptoms,” gastroenterologist Amar Naik, MD, offers treatment strategies for managing these lesser known symptoms, as well as precautions that should be taken in the home to reduce the likelihood of spreading COVID-19.

First, it’s important that patients with COVID-19 and digestive issues remain hydrated. Dr. Naik suggests regularly replacing lost fluids with water, sports drinks and broths. He said an “oral rehydration solution” can be easily made at home by mixing one liter of water with six level teaspoons of sugar and one-half teaspoon of salt until the salt and sugar dissolve.

“If someone in your home is suspected or confirmed of having COVID-19, and especially if they are having digestive symptoms, there are precautions that should be taken to minimize the spread of this disease,” said Dr. Naik. They include:

· Isolating from others within the home, including pets.

· Wearing a mask.

· Washing hands frequently, especially after using the restroom.

· Routinely cleaning the bathroom and other high-touch surfaces (such as doorknobs) in the home with bleach.

· Closing the lid before you flush the toilet.

· If at all possible, using a separate bathroom.

If you have any concerns about digestive symptoms, including those related to COVID-19, please contact a Loyola Medicine gastroenterologist to make an in-person or telehealth appointment at 888-584-7888 or visit

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.