The intestinal infection of bacteria is responsible for the development of a medical condition called gastroenteritis. The different bacteria that are known to cause gastroenteritis include Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Shigella, Clostridium, Campylobacter jejuni, Yersinia, Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae. Infection of bacteria most likely takes place through consumption of dairy products, seafood, meat and bakery products.
Pseudomembranous colitis is the causal organism of diarrhea. The main causes of intestinal bacterial infection are poor sanitation, usage of human waste for fertilizers and contaminated drinking water; swimming in contaminated water is also one of the modes of getting infected; the infection resulting from food poisoning is common in USA. These infections could also originate in animals and insects and then affect human beings. The bacteria tend to release harmful toxins in the food which in turn cause food poisoning.
The common symptoms of intestinal infections resulting from bacteria are abdominal pain, loss of appetite, cramps, loose motions, weight loss, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence, etc. Some of the other symptoms of infection of this kind are dry skin, reduction in urine output, muscle cramps, fever, rise in thirst, etc. One of the major symptoms of bacterial infections is dehydration. This condition is reached in extreme cases when the patient suffers from severe diarrhea. The problem of vomiting can make the condition worse and calls for immediate treatment with fluids and antibiotics. The other symptoms associated with dehydration in extreme cases include fever that is higher than 101 °F, hallucinations, delusions, delirium, etc.
Forms of Intestinal Bacterial Infection
The different types of infections caused by bacteria, their symptoms and ways to deal with them are presented through following paragraphs. Gastroenteritis is one of the important medical conditions caused by the bacteria which affects the health of intestines. Let us find more on these problems.
Bacterial Enterocolitis: Inflammation of colon and small intestine is the primary symptom of bacterial enterocolitis. Other signs observed in this medical condition are pus/blood in stool and fever. Infection of the bacteria viz., Shigella and Campylobacter jejuni is acquired through contaminated water and food. Dairy products, poultry and vegetables are the foods which bring with them the infectious bacteria. The bacterial infection of Clostridium difficile is nosocomial in nature, which means it is acquired in the hospital. The hemorrhagic enterocolitis caused by Escherichia coli is a medical condition of enterocolitis associated with the symptom of bleeding.
Traveler's diarrhea: An enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli bacteria is responsible for causing 'Traveler's diarrhea'. This bacterial strain produces toxins that induce diarrhea. A sudden onset of symptoms like abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, etc. is observed in those who get infected. Symptoms of diarrhea are generally exhibited in a week's time; however, it may also take longer. This condition develops in approximately 10 million people (travelers) every year.
How to Treat Bacterial Infection
The remedies given below are effective in dealing with the problem of bacterial infection. Pharmacological therapy for gastroenteritis is generally not needed.
- The antibiotics that are generally used in the treatment this infection include Ciprofloxacin, Ceftriaxone and Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Intake of antibiotic medications coupled with sufficient rest allows fast recovery from these infections.
- It is necessary to avoid the intake of solid diets, at least in first few days of treatment. Thus, diet for patients of gastroenteritis should mostly include liquids.
- To compensate the body fluids lost due to bacterial infection (diarrhea), one should increase the intake of liquids. It is however, necessary to avoid consuming the caffeinated beverages and milk.
- One should make use of only those medications prescribed by the doctor.
- Electrolyte drinks should be given to children to make up for the loss of fluids. Oral rehydration therapy (ORT) is used for children to recover from dehydration.
- The use of rice or wheat-based Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) are found to be far more effective than other sugar-based liquids.
- If the level of consciousness of patients decreases, the need to give them intravenous fluids may arise.
- It is necessary to avoid the intake of foods that contain a high amount of sugar. Such foods are responsible for increasing the osmotic load. If the osmotic load increases, diarrhea becomes aggravated.
The intestinal bacterial infection can be effectively dealt with by making appropriate dietary changes. Medications should be used only under the guidance of an expert. If proper care is not taken, the infection complicates into problems like postinfectious arthritis in which the patient suffers from joint pain. Further spreading of infection is another danger that one needs to be aware of.
Taking the necessary precautions like maintaining proper hygiene, using pure water for drinking, etc. should prevent the occurrence of intestinal infection in future.