Cough, fever, body ache, neurological symptoms, brain fog, poor appetite, fatigue, and shortness of breath are classic post-covid symptoms that require immediate attention. But, gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, digestive issues, swelling of the liver, low sugar, and pancreas problems are getting missed by the people. There are around 30% of the severely infected critical patients and senior citizens who come out of the ICU after recovery have post-covid digestive issues, while, youngsters may exhibit mild symptoms like diarrhea.
Nysha Khanna (name changed), a 30-year-old working professional from Mumbai was admitted to Zen Multispecialty Hospital, Chemburdue to hyper insulin secretion post-Covid recovery. She was repeatedly getting episodes of low blood sugar. Her sugar level was 40 mg/dL and she was thoroughly examined to rule out the presence of a pancreatic tumor. It was confirmed that she suffered from a rare condition called autoimmune response wherein the body produces an extremely high amount of insulin and the patient gets repeated hypoglycemia, sweating, drop in sugar levels, and diarrhea because of the Covid and antibiotics.
Supportive treatment was given to her like monitoring her sugar on a daily basis with no medication. She was asked to come for regular follow-ups as the condition will go away after 3 months. But if her sugar levels go below 30 mg/dL then she may get convulsion and even lose her life. Coronavirus not only gives a tough time to your respiratory health but even digestive issues may crop up post-Covid recovery. The virus can replicate in the digestive tract after clearing in the airways.
Dr. Roy Patankar, Gastroenterologist and Director of Zen Multispecialty, said, “Many patients have reported post-covid problems wherein the liver enzymes go up owing to the swelling of the liver cells, effects on the pancreas and sugar going up as insulin production are low. Certain medications given during the treatment of Covid have side-effects on the kidney too.”
Dr. Patankar added, “Those patients who suffer from digestive issues post recovery will have to take adequate rest and drink a lot of fluids. Do not forget to load up on those vitamin C, D, and calcium supplements as suggested by the expert. Stick to a high fiber diet, take probiotics, and cut down on heavy fried foods. Do blood tests as recommended by your expert to manage serious complications.”
Dr. Patankar adds, “Instead of concentrating only on the lungs post-covid recovery and opting for breathing exercises, it is also essential to monitor the digestive health. Include fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in the diet, limit foods with added sugar and fats. Chew your food properly, and stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water.”