Gastrointestinal disorders in COVID-19 patients: a great imitator

  • Ari Fahrial Syam Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Indonesia, Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital, Jakarta, Indonesia
Keywords: COVID-19, gastrointestinal disease, SARS-CoV-2


Up to this point, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is still ongoing. Some studies with a large number of cases have reported its clinical manifestations, concluding that the disease is a great imitator. Patients may present with symptoms other than the main symptoms of respiratory tract infections, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting, which may sometimes cause a delayed treatment in managing COVID-19 patients. Reports of various hospitals have also demonstrated gastrointestinal complaints as a clinical manifestation in those patients. The patients may come with gastrointestinal symptoms as their early clinical manifestation, or the gastrointestinal symptoms may be found in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, which indeed can be explained since the SARS-CoV-2, an etiologic agent of COVID-19 infection, can obviously be found along the gastrointestinal tract. Hence, the virus can be found in fecal and anal, and therefore, rectal swabs can be used as a diagnostic tool for COVID-19 infection.


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How to Cite
Syam AF. Gastrointestinal disorders in COVID-19 patients: a great imitator. Med J Indones [Internet]. 2021Jan.20 [cited 2024Feb.21];30(2):166–9. Available from:
Brief Communication