Queen Elizabeth II hospitalized for stomach bug

Updated 7:34 PM EST, Sun March 3, 2013

Story highlights

NEW: Gastroenteritis can cause dehydration, kidney problems in the elderly, doctor says

Elizabeth II hospitalized "as a precautionary measure," Buckingham Palace says

She is expected to be hospitalized for two days, the spokesman says

Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II was hospitalized Sunday after experiencing symptoms of gastroenteritis that had already sidelined her weekend plans, Buckingham Palace announced.

The 86-year-old monarch had been taken to King Edward VII’s Hospital on Sunday morning “as a precautionary measure,” a Buckingham Palace spokesman said, speaking with customary anonymity.

“She is otherwise in good spirits and good health,” the spokesman said.

Five things to know about gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines. Though commonly known as “stomach flu,” it is not caused by the influenza virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The illness is usually caused by a virus and passed from person to person, said Dr. Corey Siegel, a gastroenterologist and professor at Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine. But it can also be caused by bacteria, either foodborne or personally transmitted, he said.