Gastrointestinal manifestations of COVID-19: An updated systematic review

Trop Biomed. 2022 Sep 1;39(3):428-433. doi: 10.47665/tb.39.3.013.


Lack of knowledge about the type and prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms as a clinical manifestation is one of the reasons for delayed diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 patients. This review study aimed to systematically review the type and prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms in COVID-19 patients. To study the gastrointestinal manifestations of COVID-19, we used the 06- PRISMA registered in the CAMARADES-NC3Rs Preclinical Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Facility (SyRF) database. PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and Scopus databases were searched for publications on the gastrointestinal manifestations of COVID-19 with no publication time frame. Articles were found using the following terms and search strategy: ["COVID-19, Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, Clinical SymptomsGastrointestinal or gastric or intestinal manifestations"]. Out of 27652 papers, 35 papers on a total of 6730 COVID-19 patients up to 2022 met the inclusion criteria. Remarkably, most articles (28 papers, 77.8%) were from China (77.8%). The most common gastrointestinal manifestations were nausea or vomiting (13.1%), diarrhea (11.05%), anorexia (8.7%), and abdominal pain (2.4%), respectively. The findings of the present review revealed that contrary to what was initially assumed in the COVID-19 outbreak, this infection does not manifest only as respiratory symptoms but also as gastrointestinal symptoms. Therefore, clinicians and gastroenterologists must be alert to these unusual cases and fecal-oral transmission during the COVID-19 pandemic and implement preventive strategies.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / complications
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases* / virology
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2