What is Bali Belly?

Many people who travel from developed to developing countries experiemce diarrhea. This illnes can occur at any time during the trip, or oven after the person gets home. It is ussually a self-limiting condition that clears up after a few days. This symptom usually occur together with vomiting,before or after diarrhea. It is often caused by eating contaminated food or water. The micro-organisms that trigger the illnes may appear to be harmless to the local population, presumably because local people have acquired immunity to them.


In medical term, this issue is referred to as Acute Gastroenteritis. However there are several other names beside Acute Gastroenteritis which include Montezuma’s revenge, Bali Belly and Rangoon runs. Due to this article discusses about Bali Belly, we will use the term “Bali Belly” in the entire contents of this article. In Dr.’s clinic Adi & associates Bali Belly is one of the main complaints that bring people to come for medical help.


The risk of Bali Belly is higer where sanitation and hygine standards are poor, such as in the developing nations of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia particulary. Bali Belly is more common in young adults than older adults, probably because younger people tend to choose more adventurous destination or styles of travel, like backpacking. The initial symptoms if this situation include:

  1. Abdominal bloating, cramps and pain
  2. Neusea or vomiting
  3. Urgency to go to the toilet
  4. Loose, watery stools (feces or poo) passed frequently (with or without blood)
  5. Mild high temperature (sub-fever)
  6. General malaise (weakness or discomfort)

The main micro-organisms that can cause Bali Belly drom more frequent are:

  1. Bacteria (Escherichia coli), primarily enterotoxigenic strains (ETEC)
  2. Parasites
  3. Virus
  4. Unknown cause.

As the previous explanation, the cintamination risk foods caused by foor sanitation and hygine should be avoided by trevelers such as:

  1. Raw, rare or under-cooked meats of any kind
  2. Sauces and mayonnaise
  3. Spicy food
  4. Unpasteurised dairy foods, including milk
  5. Unboiled or tap water
  6. Food from street vendors, etc

Besides diarrhea and vomiting as the main issues complaint by the patients,dehydration status is also needed to figure it out. According to the prior explanation, there are some advice that we can share if you have this issue while enjoying leisure time in Bali:

  1. First, as long as there is no vomiting yet, you should drink a lot of water from bottle only. Ideally if you have some hydration sachets/tablets add them to your water to prevent you to dehydration and electolyte imbalance. Dose of water and electrolyte you need is actually depends on your body wight, but commonly 2 L minimum.
  2. If you have someone and there is no imvropement yet in 1×24 hours, ask hem to go to the doctor, private clinic,or hospital nearby for the comprehensive management. This is due to Bali Bally not just only about stomach infaction, but also impair your hemodynamic status gradually (dehydration state)
  3. If you come to see doctor, they ussualy give you some medical advises regarding with this situation. They are included with giving an intravenous infution (in moderate-severe dehidration), anti-vomiting and cramping drugs administration into vein, as well as several oral tablets as primary medication for diarrhea and vomiting (include antibiotic and electrolyte replacement therapy).

After the medication consumption, you can have anything at all but make sure this is plain meatless food and should not spicy as that will only upset your stomach again. In addition, please keep away from tea, coffee, soda/coke, and alcohol for a while. Less solid food, like porridge and chiken soul, is recommended in this circumstances for medication, the symptoms usually relieve in 1-2 days, but take 3-4 days for full recover. Do not wait until this issues getting worse, please come to the doctor for appopriate treatments.




· Piping hot

· Peeled fruit

· Processed/packaged

· Cooked vegetables (saved steaming hot)


· Irradiated milk

· Boiled milk

· Iodized water

· Carbonat


· Dry

· Jelly/syrup

· Washed vegetables














· Cold salads/desserts

· Hamburgers

· Hot sausages (served at room temperature)

· Unpeeled fruits

· Fresh cheese


· Tap water

· Uncarbonated, bottlled fruits juices

· Chepped ice

· Alcohol and chipped ice

· Unpastirized milk/butter






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