Dysentery is a collective term for a collection of different bacterial disorders that affect the digestive system, although it most often is used to refer to the inflammation of the intestine or colon. Dysentery has a number of different complications and symptoms, most of which are very unpleasant. It also can be fatal if it is not treated. Dysentery is caused by a protozoan or a bacterial infection or by a parasitic worm. However, it can also be caused by a virus or by a chemical irritant.
There are two different types of bacteria that commonly cause dysentery. The first is an infection by any type of bacillus from the Shigella genus of bacteria. The other is caused by an amoeba in the intestine. A bacillus infection is termed bacillary dysentery, while the amoeba infestation leads to amoebic dysentery. Both can lead to death if not treated immediately.
The symptoms of dysentery include frequent diarrhea or at least a frequent need to pass feces. The frequency of how often you feel the need to defecate, the amount of feces you pass, and the appearance of blood or mucus in the feces all depend on what type of dysentery you have. Different parasites and bacteria cause different symptoms and different severity of symptoms. In some cases, you may even start vomiting up blood.
However, while dysentery can be fatal if left unchecked, treatment is possible, and if caught in time, a full recovery can be made. First, you will need to avoid severe dehydration caused by the diarrhea. This means you’ll need to maintain a high level of fluid intake. Oral rehydration therapy is often required since you can’t get enough liquid from simply drinking water. However, if you are vomiting too much or the diarrhea is too much for the therapy to compensate for, other treatments may be needed. The most common treatment when rehydration does not work is intravenous fluid replacement, which will require you to be admitted to the hospital. Most likely, you will have to stay in the hospital until your dysentery is cured.
Following a microscopy and tests to determine the exact kind of infection that is behind your dysentery, your doctor will start you on an antimicrobial therapy schedule. This therapy may include amoebicidal drugs to kill any parasites or amoebas or a very strong antibiotic to cure a bacterial infection. Depending on how severe your dysentery is, you may be required to stay in the hospital for several days or even weeks until you make a complete recovery.
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