What is dysentery?

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Dysentery is an inflammation of the intestines that lead to severe diarrhea.  Traces of blood and/or mucus can also be found in the feces when a person has dysentery. The condition typically starts with pain in the abdominal area that leads to frequent trips to the toilet.  Dehydration is a common side effect if lost body fluids are not replaced immediately through drinking of water.

Dysentery may be of two types namely bacillary and amoebic.  The bacillary type is caused by the Shigella bacteria and is considered the most common. T he mode of entry is typically through the mouth. The bacteria will then travel to the intestines from the oral cavity and cause stomach cramps and diarrhea.  In most cases of bacillary type of dysentery, symptoms will subside in a few days or weeks even without treatment.  If treatment is required, mild drugs to flush out the bacteria may be prescribed.  Along with the severe diarrhea, blood or pus may also be found in the stool.  The other type of dysentery is amoebic type.  This type is also referred to as amoebiasis.  Its main difference from the bacillary type is that the amoeba may stay in the intestines for months or even years without causing any symptoms.  When the amoeba will cause inflammation of the stomach for example, it will also present with severe diarrhea and blood in the stool.  Amoebic type of dysentery may also be passed on to other people because of poor hygiene.

In most cases, people with dysentery will get well with enough fluid intake and ample rest.  Sometimes, electrolytes from certain drinks may also be needed to restore the body’s energy.  In severe cases, people with dysentery may be required to undergo antibiotic treatment or even hospitalization.  As for the health experts, prevention of dysentery is always preferred over curing it.  Good hygiene and proper food preparation is often taught to patients to avoid the spread of infection to other people.

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