Dysentery or bloody flux is an infection in the digestive system. It is instigated by a parasitic ameba called Entamoeba histolytica which enters the intestines through food items and causes inflammation. A few types of bacteria called Salmonella and Shigella are also responsible for causing this scourge.
Types of Dysentery
Dysentery could be categorized into two major types namely:
- Bacillary dysentery: Bacillary dysentery is caused by Shigella bacteria and might turn into deadly epidemic. Mostly children are infected by this bacteria and mortality rate is also high for infants. In adults this dysentery usually peters out rapidly; however, doctor’s intervention is necessary in order to thwart the recurrence.
- Amebic dysentery: Amebic dysentery is caused by Entamoeba histolytica. Amebic dysentery is comparatively infrequent. This type of dysentery is quite prevalent in the area where human excrement is frequently used as fertilizer. Dirty hands, poor cleaning habit, unwashed or poorly washed hands and utensils used for serving and consuming food items might also lead to this disease.
Causes of Dysentery
The following are the major causes of dysentery:
- Digestive bacterial infection: It is nothing but the infection of the digestive system caused by the bacterial proliferation. Salmonela enteritis, Shigella enteritis, E. coli, etc. are some of the examples of bacteria that cause dysentery. In bacillary dysentery Shigella bacteria go into mouth via food stuffs or water and get proliferated in the feces.
- In amebic dysentery the infection passes through inactive amebic cyst from one host to another. Cysts and active ameba are expelled via feces of an infected person which are consumed with contaminated diets and water by another person and get into the intestine. Active ameba raids in the intestinal wall causing ulceration, dysentery, and pain.
- Digestive viral infection: Digestive viral infection or viral gastroenteritis is caused due to the infection of digestive tract, mainly stomach and intestine, by a number of viruses like rotavirus, adenovirus, astrovirus, calicivirus, and small round-structured viruses (SRVs). Like digestive bacterial infection these viruses enter our digestive system via contaminated food stuffs.
- Other Causes: One of the major causes behind the spreading of bloody flux is people’s unawareness in hygiene matters. The causal bacteria and viruses that are responsible for dysentery live in our large intestines and travel into the feces of people who are already infected by them. Food and water get contaminated by such feces and due to poor sanitation they easily infect people who usually come in close contact with such places or consume foods grown with such unhygienic water.
These types of infection often infiltrates through improper hygiene. Dirty hands, poor cleaning habit, unwashed or poorly washed hands and utensils used for serving and consuming food items might also lead to this disease.
The major symptom of dysentery is severe and excessive discharge of bloody or watery feces, commonly filled with mucus.
- The above symptoms might be accompanied by stomach, abdominal and rectal pain and cramps
- Loss of appetite could be another profound symptom
- Tendency of nausea and vomiting could be present
- Fever is another very common symptom of dysentery
- In case of bacillary dysentery caused by Shigella bacteria, feces are usually mixed with blood while amebic dysentery is generally marked by presence of mucus
- In order to prevent dysentery one needs to have good hygienic sense. Drinking water should be properly cleaned and disinfected so as to thwart bacterial or viral contamination.
- Avoid brushing teeth with unhygienic tap water. Do not use ice cubes made from tap water or dirty water. Use boiled water, canned or bottled soda in beverages. It is preferable to use bottled drinking water during travel. Have tea or coffee made with boiled water.
- While traveling you should be careful about food. Salads with rotten vegetables, uncooked or undercooked food items, unpasteurized milk, raw meat and fish, and any food from road-side vendors could be the source of dysentery.
- Wash your hands properly with handwash after using toilet, after changing diapers, and before cooking or taking foods.
Treatment for Dysentery -Herbal Supplements for Dysentery
Garlic ( Allium sativum): This herb is a well-known remedy for dysentery. It has strong antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties which are helpful in fighting against some of the intestinal parasites. It soothes the dysenteric condition by destroying harmful bacteria in the intestine without imposing any threat to the beneficial microorganisms. Garlic herbal capsules are extremely helpful in getting relief from any type of dysentery, diarrhea, colitis, and various other intestinal upsets.
Amalaki (Embilica officinalis): This well-known herb is extremely useful in improving the digestive power of our gastrointestinal tract and also helpful in cleaning out toxic wastes from our body. Stronger is your digestive system more you could stave off dysentery. Herbal capsules of Amla are highly preferable for strengthening gastrointestinal system as well as prevent dysentery.
Bael fruit ( Aegle marmelos): This extremely nutritious fruit has got ample riboflavin. It is one of the best natural remedy for both acute and chronic dysentery. Mix the pulp of this fruit with jaggery and have it daily three times. For chronic dysentery take the pulp of the unripe fruit mixed with dried ginger.
Lemon juice ( Citrus limon): It is quite useful for healing up general type of dysentery. Take a few lemons and peel and slice them. Add the slices into 250 ml water and boil it for a few minutes. Drink this infusion daily three times and get rid of dysentery.