Dysentery is a disorder of the intestine, mainly the colon. It is an inflammatory disorder caused by Shigella species (bacillary dysentery). The inflammation in the bowels results into severe pain, and causes loose, watery and frequent stool known as diarrhoea. The root-cause of the disorder may be consumption of contaminated food or water. One may also derive the infection through unhygienic sanitary conditions or through contact with an already infected person.
According to the World Health Organisation: Dysentery is bloody diarrhoea, i.e. any diarrhoeal episode in which the loose or watery stools contain visible blood.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that there are 80 million cases of Shigellosis annually with 700,000 of these resulting in death.
- The infection or inflammation in the intestines show various symptoms:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal bloating
- Frequent and loose stools
- Blood in diarrhoea
- Pain in rectum
- Restricted bowel movements
- Infection by bacteria of the Shigella group
- Bacterial infection in the digestive system due to intake of contaminated food or water
- Unhygienic sanitary facilities
- Viral infection in the digestive system
- Bowel ulceration
Medical history, physical check-up and stool and blood tests may help your doctor to come to a conclusion about the disorder. If the test shows a positive result, he/she is given a lot of fluid or electrolyte to avoid dehydration and to replenish the loss of water and salts in the body. Antibiotics may be given to the patient as they are highly effective in cases of such infections. Taking rest is a must. However, if the vomiting and passing stool does not stop even after the above mentioned treatments, the patient is hospitalised, and is kept under doctor’s observation.
In normal cases, a person will recover within two to four week of taking treatment. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.