What is dysentery?In dysentery, patients suffer from severe discomfort in the stomach and intestine. As a rule, it is not possible for the patient to take normal food and fluid, resulting in underweight and dehydration.
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Dysentery is an inflammatory disease of the intestine, more especially of the colon. It triggers severe diarrhea, which contains blood and mucus, as well as fever, stomach pain and stool compulsion.
The cause of the inflammation can be numerous infections, both bacterial and viral, or by parasitic infestation. The pathogens reach the colon via the digestive tract and are taken orally by contaminated food or liquid. Every pathogen has a different effect on the body, but they all affect the inner walls of the intestines and damage them, causing an immune system reaction.
These defensive reactions of the body lead to cramps, increased temperature and large fluid loss through the stool. It is not uncommon for travelers to become infected with the pathogens in a tropical resort by drinking contaminated water or eating fruit.
The most common cause of dysentery is bacterial infection. Depending on the region, there are other bacterial strains that can cause dysentery.
Shigellosis, for example, is very common in Latin America, Campylobacter bacteria in South-East Asia. Much less often dysentery is caused by chemicals or parasites such as worms. The bacteria attack the inner skin of the intestines and trigger the unpleasant symptoms. Both possibilities of infection are spread by the ingestion of feces, which is in tried water or food.
Especially in regions of extreme poverty and overpopulation, where hygiene standards are extremely low, people are at increased risk of becoming infected with the pathogens and getting dysentery.
Symptoms, complaints & signs
Dysentery is usually associated with very unpleasant symptoms, all of which have a very negative impact on the quality of life of the person affected and make everyday life much more difficult. The affected suffer primarily from a very strong diarrhea. Because of this, deficiency symptoms often occur, or even dehydration, when the person does not drink enough liquid.
Likewise, the color of the stool changes through the dysentery to a white and slimy consistency. For some people, this change can also lead to a panic attack. Likewise, sufferers often suffer from pain in the stomach and stomach, which often results in loss of appetite and weight loss.
Nausea and vomiting may also be due to dysentery and, in turn, adversely affect the quality of life of the person. In some cases, the disease also leads to fever and generally to a permanent fatigue or fatigue. If the dysentery is not treated, it can also develop on the internal organs and lead there too strong damage. This also reduces the life expectancy of the person affected.
Diagnosis & History
The diagnosis is made quickly and on-site through a physical examination and some questions about the symptoms. So a treatment can be initiated directly. Infected persons may have severe, mild or no symptoms.
In extreme cases, people can lose up to one liter of liquid per hour. More commonly, people will complain of dizziness and stomach pain, as well as a strong and lazy stinking diarrhea mixed with blood and mucus, as well as causing pain. Vomiting and weight loss can often be detected and supports the diagnosis.
In rare cases, dysentery and its infection can affect other parts of the body, such as vital organs such as the liver, brain and lungs. Mouth, face and lips are most likely dry due to heavy fluid loss. Finally, a blood or stool test should determine which pathogen has triggered the dysentery.
In dysentery, patients suffer from severe discomfort in the stomach and intestine. As a rule, it is not possible for the patient to take normal food and fluid, resulting in underweight and dehydration. The symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of a typical gastrointestinal infection.
The patients complain of vomiting and diarrhea. Also, a strong fever occurs, which can greatly reduce the quality of life of the patient. Not infrequently, the diarrhea is bloody, which can lead to a panic attack in some people. Patients suffer from a general feeling of illness and can no longer exercise physically through dysentery. As a rule, the patient requires a few days' bed rest to successfully cure the condition.
In most cases, no direct treatment is necessary, often the disease disappears after one day on its own without further or serious complications. Otherwise, antibiotics can also be used. There are also no further complications. Life expectancy is not reduced due to dysentery.
When should you go to the doctor?
If watery diarrhea suddenly occurs, it may be dysentery. A visit to a doctor is advisable if the complaints have not subsided after three to five days at the latest. If the watery diarrhea turns into bloody or slimy-purulent diarrhea, it is likely that the disease will be severe. The disease should then be promptly medically clarified and treated. Patients who also have fever, abdominal cramps, and colic are best looking directly at the nearest hospital.
This is especially true when signs of dehydration are noticed. Complicated symptoms such as arthritic joint changes, kidney failure or inflammation of the urethra and conjunctiva should be treated as soon as possible. It may also be necessary to provide first aid.
With such a difficult course, a longer hospital stay is necessary. Depending on whether long-term damage has already occurred, further investigations must subsequently be carried out. To avoid this: If there are signs of dysentery, go to the doctor immediately. With early treatment complications are extremely unlikely.
Treatment & Therapy
Dysentery is treated promptly by a WHO drinking solution. If this therapy is unsuccessful, as the patient vomits too much or loses fluid through the intestine, fluid intake can also be intravenous.
Ideally, any drug therapy should wait until it has been found out with which pathogen the patient has become infected. If this analysis is not possible, a double therapy must be used, both against parasites and with antibiotics against the bacteria. In mild shigellosis, the doctor may not prescribe medication, just prescribe plenty of fluid intake and bed rest.
Dysentery caused by parasites must be combated with a dual drug strategy. After a ten-day treatment with metronidazole, a cure with Diloxanidfuroat, a special remedy for this parasitic infestation. Native tropical habitats around the world use the leaves of the kapok tree to alleviate their symptoms. However, to rely on this treatment alone is not recommended.
Outlook & Forecast
The prognosis of dysentery is good at using a fast medical care. Within a few days, the rarely occurring disease with the right medication and a specialist medical treatment to improve the state of health. After about 1 ½ to 2 weeks a recovery is usually achieved. The patient usually needs some time until he is completely symptom-free.
In mild cases, no drug treatment is necessary for dysentery. In a stable and healthy defense system, the organism can independently achieve a cure. The germs die and are then transported out of the body. If the symptoms persist for several days or increase in intensity, it can lead to complications and other diseases.
In severe cases there is a risk of dehydration of the organism and thus dehydration. This is a life-threatening condition of the body that is an emergency. It can lead to an organ failure and subsequently to the death of the patient. On the whole, people with a weakened immune system have a less favorable prognosis. This is especially true if they do not go into any treatment. The bacteria responsible for dysentery spread within a short time in the organism and weaken the body. It can lead to malfunctions and failures.
In order to prevent dysentery, particularly hygienic advice should be followed. So every time you go to the toilet you should wash your hands thoroughly with soap. Regular hand washing is always recommended. Even before contact with food, small children or feeding elderly people should be cleaned hands. If possible, close contact should not be carried out with infected people. The sharing of detergents and hygiene products should also be avoided.
Because dysentery is a complicated and, above all, serious disease, very few options for aftercare are possible. First and foremost, a quick diagnosis and treatment of this disease must be carried out so that it does not lead to further complications in the intestine of the person concerned. In each case, an early detection has a very positive effect on the further course and can prevent some complaints.
In most cases, dysentery can be treated relatively well by medication or by diet. There are no special complications if the person follows the doctor's instructions. The medication should be taken regularly and correctly, and care must be taken to ensure correct dosing.
If there are ambiguities or questions, a doctor must be consulted. Furthermore, in dysentery and regular examinations of the intestine are useful to detect an ulcer or a tumor quickly and early and remove. Whether dysentery has a negative effect on the life expectancy of the person affected can not generally be predicted.
You can do that yourself
The ability of sufferers to help their body survive dysentery depends on the severity of the disease. The sole use of home remedies is generally not recommended as the pathogens should be killed by means of pharmaceuticals. Otherwise, the duration of the Ruhr will be greatly extended.
Affected persons should in any case show a gentle behavior, which is only interrupted by the frequent use of the toilet. So, ways to the toilet should be kept free. For people with reduced mobility, diapers or bedding may be needed.
A lot to drink is, in addition to the drug therapy, important. So the lost liquid is returned to the body. An electrolyte-containing diet (rice, bananas, apples, vegetable broths, etc.) can be forced by the person concerned, but in severe cases of dysentery, it will be necessary both in hospital and intravenously.
Concerned persons should wash out or dispose of the laundry and hygiene items they use during their illness after they have healed. This serves to protect others and prevent possible reinfection with the germs.
It can also be used to support kapok (the fiber of the kapok tree). This has an antibacterial effect, but in no way replaces antibiotics.