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Dysentery (formerly known as flux or the bloody flux) is frequent, small-volume, severe diarrhea that shows blood in the feces along with intestinal cramping and tenesmus (painful straining to pass stool). Additional symptoms frequently associated with dysentery include fever and malaise.
Additional recommended knowledge
Dysentery has many causes, including cancer, but is typically associated with infection caused by the ingestion of food or water containing micro-organisms which cause significant inflammation of the intestinal lining. There are two major types of dysentery due to micro-organisms: shigellosis and amoebic dysentery. Dysentery can also be caused by certain medications, for example, some steroids can impact bowel movements.
Amoebic dysentery is transmitted through contaminated food and water. Dysentery can also be spread by contaminated hands, from toddlers, because of their poor hygiene and close contact with other toddlers. From ingestion, the infecting organisms move into the intestines via the stomach. Amoebae spread by forming infective cysts which can be found in stools and spread if whoever touches them does not sanitize their hands. There are also free amoebae, or trophozoites, that do not form cysts.
Amoebic dysentery is well known as a "traveler's dysentery" because of its prevalence in developing nations, or "Montezuma's Revenge" although it is occasionally seen in industrialized countries. Liver infection, and subsequent amoebic abscesses can occur. It is caused mainly by the protozoan Entamoeba histolytica. Amoebic dysentery can be treated with metronidazole.
Symptoms and complications
Symptoms include frequent passage of faeces/stool, loose motion and in some cases associated vomiting. Variations depending on parasites can be frequent urge with high or low volume of stool, with or without some associated mucus and even blood.
A long term complication of amoebic dysentery is lactose intolerance to dairy products, which usually lasts a few weeks but occasionally may be permanent.
A required combination of drugs includes an amoebicidal drug to kill the parasite, an antibiotic to treat any associated bacterial infection, and a drug to combat infection of the liver and other tissues. The amoeba can damage the villi and inhibit lactase production (for which there is no permanent treatment). Lactase can be taken orally to assist dairy absorption.
Dysentery was the cause of death of:
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Dysentery". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|