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Last Updated: Jun 11, 2020
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Dysentery - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

About Types Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment Medicine Diet Home remedies

What is Dysentery?

Dysentery is a medical condition which is characterized by an intestinal inflammation inside the colon which can result to chronic diarrhea with blood or mucus in the feces. Dysentery can be fatal and can also cause death due to dehydration if the lost fluids from the body is not replaced quickly. Dysentery is more common in children below the age of 11 years old and people living in the developing nations.

Types of dysentery:

There are two types of dysentery that are approved by the World Health Organization.

  • Bacillary Dysentery: This disorder is caused by a bacterium knows as Shigella. Bacillary dysentery is more common in the USA and Western Europe.
  • Amoebic Dysentery (amoebiasis): This form of dysentery is caused by an amoeba known as Entamoeba histolytica. It mostly affects people living in the tropics.

What are the early signs of dysentery?

Dysentery is one type of infection occurring in the digestive tract, especially in the intestine, colon. This condition is associated with diarrhea containing blood or mucus and it is highly infectious. Dysentery can be differentiated from normal diarrhea easily because it has a presence of blood in it.

Symptoms are generally occurring within 1-3 days of the occurrence of infection and some people also don’t seek any type of medical attention. The early signs and symptoms of dysentery are:

  • A pain in the abdominal area linked with a stomach ache
  • Cramping in the abdominal region and diarrhea (with blood and/or mucus)
  • Feeling of nausea and vomiting

These all Some other signs include:

  • Rectal pain due to recurrent diarrhea
  • Rapid dehydration
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite

What causes dysentery?

Poor or bad hygiene is the leading cause of dysentery. Bacillary dysentery is usually spread by infected food or beverage. Whereas, the amoeba which causes amoebic dysentery comes out in the form of cysts while passing stool.

This may also be contact through:

  • Bad sanitation and hygiene
  • Contaminated water
  • Contaminated food

People who come in contact with these food products get infected with this amoeba immediately and develop amoebic dysentery. These cysts can also be found in the hands of the infected people after going to the toilet. Therefore, it is important to maintain personal hygiene so that the infection doesn’t spread to others.

How is dysentery diagnosed?

The doctor or a general practitioner should be consulted if you develop symptoms of dysentery. He doctor will usually carry a physical examination. A stool sample is taken and sent for lab testing for analyzing if you have dysentery or not. Sometimes, the symptoms might be severe, in such cases an endoscopy or an ultrasound is performed.

Treatment for dysentery:

  • Rehydration therapy: This is usually carried out by using oral rehydration. During dysentery the patient experiences loss of fluids from the body. therefore, he/she is encouraged to drink plenty of water. If the dehydration is chronic, then the medical specialist usually recommends intravenous fluid replacement (drip is given to the patient).
  • Amoebicidal drugs or antibiotics: According to doctors, the use of amoebicidal drugs and antibiotics can kill the bacterium or amoeba which causes dysentery. If a person is diagnosed with bacillary dysentery, he/she does not require amoebicidal or antibiotics.
  • Antirheumatic drugs: Infections that cause dysentery in humans can be cured by Antirheumatic drugs. This form of medication is available easily and is also quite economical.

What is the best medicine for dysentery?

Primarily, the doctor needs to perform a physical examination and some laboratory tests to identify the type of dysentery and then treatment is decided. Bacillary dysentery is the most commonly occurring dysentery, prescribed antibiotics along with oral rehydration solutions (ORS) are given to patients suffering from mild to moderate dysentery.

If a person found with diarrheal condition for more than 3 days then intravenous drip is recommended to restore the lost fluids and prevent dehydration. Some over-the-counter medications like paracetamol, loperamide, bismuth subsalicylate are prescribed to overcome symptoms like fever and chills, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. If there is amoebic dysentery then metronidazole or tinidazole like antibiotic and anti-protozoal drugs are prescribed.

What is the best diet for dysentery?

Foods to eat in dysentery

Diarrhea with blood and mucus may cause severe dehydration and further life-threatening condition and to avoid such conditions and recover fast from it some foods are advised to take. The BRAT diet is highly recommended during dysentery or any type of diarrheal infection.

These are considered as the best food during dysentery because these foods are bland and do not trigger the digestive tract:

  • Bananas
  • Rice (white)
  • Apple (or applesauce)
  • Toast (BRAT diet)

Other foods that can be taken in dysentery are:

  • Coconut water
  • Plain pasta
  • Cream of wheat or rice
  • White potato
  • Decaffeinated tea
  • Softly cooked egg
  • Canned pears
  • Steamed carrots
  • Green beans
  • Beets
  • Peeled zucchini

Drink plenty of fluids or water to restore lost electrolytes in form of ORS and can also consume probiotics.

Foods to avoid in dysentery:

Dysentery is creating a dehydrating condition for people and some foods if taken during such type of infection can make the condition more severe. These are considered as the best food to avoid during dysentery because such foods can trigger the digestive system and increasing recurrence chances of it:

  • Dairy products
  • Spicy food
  • Whole grains
  • Dried fruits
  • Beans
  • Legumes

Vegetables like:

  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Corn
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Citrus fruits and its juices
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Beverages containing caffeine

What are the home remedies for dysentery?

This intestinal infection is occurring commonly because of poor hygienic conditions and to prevent such disease some steps should be taken at home.

  • Everyone using washrooms or toilets must wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water or other sanitizing liquids.
  • Mothers changing diapers of babies and cooking food after it should follow proper hand wash techniques.
  • If a child or adult is suffering from dysentery, he or she should avoid school and workplace for at least 48 hours after completely being free from symptoms.
  • Dysentery can be treated at home by hydrating the body at enough levels to avoid dehydration
  • Eating a recovery diet that is rich in pectin
  • Potassium
  • Electrolytes
  • An adequate amount of protein
  • Taking probiotics (as it contains good bacterias for the digestive system).

Popular Questions & Answers

I am a 44 years housewife having chronic aemebiosis problem last 10 years I lost 10 kg weight. I am diabetic taking and and insulin also taking thyroid medicine. Now I am very much depressed .kindly suggest.

MBBS, CCEBDM, Diploma in Diabetology, Diploma in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, Cetificate Course In Thyroid Disorders Management (CCMTD)
Endocrinologist, Dharwad
Lybrate-user ji, Thanks for the query. I only understand that you have diabetes, amoebiasis and probably hypothyroidism. But there are no details about blood glucose levels, HbA1c%, TSH T3 & T4 levels. No report on amoebiasis, treatment details et...
1 person found this helpful

I am male, 50 years, non smoker, 64 kg. When ever I go for outing for few days, I suffer from dysentery or similar problems. I need to go for many times. Can you please explain me the reason? What kind of precautions should I take to avoid this?

Gastroenterologist, Mumbai
You may be suffering from recurrent gastroenteritis, avoid outside prepared food, eat at a good place preferably avoid roadside and dhaba.
1 person found this helpful

I have problem regarding bowel clearance at morning. I have tried some ways like taking triphala before going to bed at night, tab. Dalgulas but some it lead me to dysentery, as I already have the tendency from last 4 years. I have to visit toilet several time in morning and always before leaving for my work and I miss my train. Please help with some homemade remedies for relief.

General Surgeon, Panipat
Mr. Basu. Plz improve your eating habits have three full meals with plenty of vegetables fruits and water change your eating habits for at least 4-5 months and then add some stool softener I hope ou will improve.
1 person found this helpful

What would be the best treatment for chronic dysentery homeopathy, allopathy or ayurvedic facing problem since 3 month all the reports are normal also.

M. Ch (Pediatric Surgery), MNAMS (Membership of The National Academy) (General Surgery), DNB (General Surgery), MBBS, Sardar Vallabhbahi Rashtra Ratna Award 2017 Winner
Pediatrician, Pune
Hi this is paediatric Gastro surgeon from Pune I went through equation very few things to be focused in your queries that dysentery since 3 months is quite long period which cannot be neglected first of all second the choice of medicines like Allo...

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