What Is Dysentery?
Dysentery refers to intestinal inflammation or an infection that leads to severe cases of diarrhea with traces of blood in it. In certain cases, mucus can also be present in the stools. The diarrhea that is present with dysentery can persist for up to 3-7 days. Dysentery is known to cause mild to severe stomach cramps. This condition can be fatal if adequate fluids are not consumed in order to stay hydrated. The most common cause of dysentery infection is Shigella bacillus, a bacterium that invades the lining of the colon. In certain places, the signs and symptoms of dysentery are mild and normally disappear within a few days’ time. Every year, there are almost 130 to 170 million cases of Shigella infection reported around the world. Out of these cases, around 1 million turn out to be fatal.
The symptoms of dysentery include
- Cramps or abdominal pain
- Fever that exceeds 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- Dehydration (which can be life-threatening if left untreated).
Dysentery is usually spread through lack of proper hygiene at home or within local surroundings. For example, if someone does not wash their hands properly after using the bathroom, then the bacteria on their hands will most likely be spread to anything they touch. This infection is known to spread by way of contaminated food or water. This contamination may have been caused by fecal matter. Therefore, it is important to maintain proper sanitation and carefully wash your hands to help prevent dysentery or avoid spreading it.
Antibiotics Used for Dysentery
The diagnosis carried out by a doctor will reveal whether the dysentery was caused due to Shigella infection or Entamoeba histolytica infection. The doctor will also determine if treatment is necessary based on the severity of the condition. In cases of dysentery, it important to stay thoroughly hydrated. However, if the patient is unable to drink fluids by mouth, the doctor may recommend intravenous fluid replacement wherein the patient is placed on a drip and monitored.
In cases of mild bacillary dysentery, which is mostly seen in developed countries with good sanitation, the condition often resolves on its own without need for antibiotic treatment. However, it is up to the patient to drink sufficient fluids to avoid weakness and dehydration. If the condition becomes severe, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics for treatment.
Another form of dysentery is amoebic dysentery. In this condition, amoebicidal drugs are often prescribed to combat the Entamoeba histolytica infection. This would ensure that the amoeba doesn’t survive within the body once the symptoms have subsided. For dysentery treatment, the doctor will likely recommend medications such as Flagyl or metronidazole. This medication helps in treating both the parasites as well as the bacteria.
If lab results do not provide clear results, the patient will likely be prescribed a combination of antibiotics as well as amoebicidal drugs based on the severity of the symptoms.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), any type of suspected shigellosis infection should be effectively treated with antimicrobial or antibiotic medications.
Below are some of the antibiotics that are often recommended for treating dysentery caused by Shigella infection:
- Macrolides such as azithromycin
- Beta-lactams such as third generation cephalosporins which are ceftriaxone or cefixime, ampicillin, pivmecillinam, and amoxicillin.
- Quinolones such as norfloxacin, nalidixic acid, ofloxacin, and ciprofloxacin.
- Tetracycline, furazolidone and sulfonamides.
The antimicrobial form of therapy is usually prescribed for a period of five days. It has been said that antibiotic treatment helps reduce the duration of the illness, reduces the risk of spreading the infection from person to person, and also avoids cases of household contacts. It is recommended not to use antidiarrheal medications, such as hydrochloride with atropine or loperamide, since they can prolong the condition. The World Health Organization has introduced the use of zinc for at least 10-15 days as part of a diarrheal disease control plan. Using zinc helps reduce the duration of diarrhea and reduces stools.
9 Effective Home Remedies for Dysentery
Mild forms of dysentery are usually curable at home; thus, it is not necessary to visit the doctor for medicines and so on. There are certain home remedies that can be used for treating mild dysentery. These remedies are not only cost effective but also side effect free.
1. Buttermilk or Orange Juice
Drinking up to 3-4 glasses of either orange juice or buttermilk throughout the day has proven to help treat dysentery. Buttermilk encourages the growth of good bacteria or intestinal friendly bacteria in the stomach. If you are unable drink buttermilk, curd can be used as an alternative.
Both curd and buttermilk are said to be good sources of intestinal friendly bacteria which lead to the production of acetic acid. Additionally, they also destroy bad or harmful bacteria present in the stomach.
2. Castor Oil
Castor oil is well known to facilitate and quickly eliminate toxic matter from the digestive system. To use castor oil, mix one teaspoon of the oil with a teaspoon of ginger juice in a half a cup of water. Mix well and consume this mixture twice a day for best results.
This particular mixture is said to help relieve the symptoms of dysentery. The pomegranate rind is known to act as a good astringent and also helps to quickly clear out the infection. To use pomegranate, boil 1 tablespoon of the fruit rind in a cup of milk for about 15-20 minutes. Once the mixture is finished, divide it into 3 equal doses and drink them over the span of a day.
4. Buttermilk and Rock Salt
Buttermilk soothes an inflamed digestive tract and also treats infection. The salt in this mixture will prevent dehydration from diarrhea. To create this mixture, combine a glass of buttermilk, a pinch of rock salt, 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin seed powder, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder in a glass. Mix well and drink. This combination should be consumed once at breakfast and once at lunch.
5. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek is good for treating many ailments. It has cooling properties that can soothe digestive tract inflammation. Additionally, it can detoxify the body and eliminate harmful microbes that wreak havoc in the intestines.
To prepare this concoction, combine 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seed powder with 1 cup of yogurt or 1 glass of buttermilk. You can eat or drink this mixture twice daily.
Lemon is naturally antimicrobial and can treat infections in the digestive tract. Additionally, it contains antioxidants, which help the body recover faster from the symptoms of dysentery.
Slice two lemons and boil them in water for a few minutes. Once the boiling stage is complete, strain and consume the concoction throughout the day.
7. Pulp of Ripe Banana
This is an effective but simple treatment method for diarrhea. Bananas are rich in potassium and stimulate the synthesis of fatty acids present in the stomach. It helps soothe the inflamed lining of the colon and relieve dysentery and diarrhea.
Simply mash up 1 ripe green banana and mix with 1-2 cups of buttermilk. Consume once daily until dysentery symptoms subside.
8. Curd and Turmeric Concoction
Turmeric powder contains antimicrobial properties when used both internally and topically. It helps treat infection in a short time span and restores the digestive system’s normal functions. The microbial cultures that are present in curd help reestablish balance in the intestines and colon.
Mix 2 tablespoons of curd, 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder, a pinch of asafoetida, a few curry leaves, a pinch of salt, and water. Bring mixture to a boil. Once cooled, drink mixture 2-3 times daily.
Carrots are a reliable source of minerals and vitamins. They provide sufficient energy to individuals suffering from dysentery. Carrots are also a reliable source of pectin and help maintain body fluids.
Simply blend carrots into a juice and put in the fridge to cool. Drink 2-3 glasses of carrot juice daily for the best results.
Dysentery is usually caused by a lack of proper hygiene and contamination of food or water; therefore, it is important to always practice proper hygiene and wash your hands regularly to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading dysentery. Other steps that should be taken to avoid dysentery, especially when travelling to another country, include:
- Ensuring that all food consumed has been cooked thoroughly.
- Ensuring that drinking water is only consumed from a reliable source.
- Cleaning off the rim of any water bottle or cup prior to drinking from it.
- Using purified water for brushing teeth and avoiding ice cubes from an unknown water source.
- Dysentery is usually caused by a lack of proper hygiene and contamination of food or water; therefore, it is important to always practice proper hygiene and wash your hands regularly to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading dysentery.
- Every year, there are almost 130 to 170 million cases of Shigella infection reported around the world.
- This condition can be fatal if adequate fluids are not consumed in order to stay hydrated.