An infection in the intestine can be caused by virus, bacteria, or other parasite. These all are collectively known as pathogens. The infection caused in the intestines can be minor to serious, depending on the cause. It can even be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated immediately. Therefore, it is essential to know the causes of infection.
As mentioned above, intestinal infections can be caused due to a larger number of micro organisms. The following is a list of prominent intestinal parasites that lead to intestinal infections in humans.
- Escherichia coli
- Shigella spp
- Salmonella spp
- Vibrio spp
- Campylobacter spp
- Clostridium spp
- Bacillus spp
- Listeria spp
- Hepatitis A virus
- Herpes virus
These micro organisms (bacteria and virus) enter the human body through the medium of food and water. When a person eats contaminated, uncooked or spoiled food, these disease causing pathogens enter the body resulting in infection. Gastroenteritis or stomach flu is one of the most significant diseases that cause lower intestinal infection. It can be caused due to viruses like adenovirus, parvovirus; or bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus or E. coli. Gastritis, food poisoning, foodborne illnesses, typhoid fever, etc., are also other illnesses that lead to intestinal infection in human beings. These illnesses are caused due to consumption of contaminated food or water.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of all the food borne illnesses, in the initial stage, are more or less the same. The following are the prominent symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Sleep Disorders
- Skin rash
- Teeth grinding
- Weight loss
Apart from the above mentioned symptoms, in severe cases, other symptoms like muscle spasms, mental problems, joint pain, swelling in certain parts of the body, etc., may also be observed. If one observes any of the aforementioned symptoms, he/she should consult the doctor immediately.
Treating Intestinal Infection
The doctor will advise you to undertake blood and urine test in order to diagnose the disease. It is essential to know the exact cause of the infection before commencing the treatment. The first step in the treatment involves use of medications to control diarrhea and vomiting. It is also necessary to treat the dehydration that follows.
Intestinal infection caused by bacteria can be treated with the help of antibiotics. It is essential to follow the complete course of antibiotics in order to get rid of the bacteria completely. There are medications available that help in treating viral and other parasitic infection. The doctor may advise bed rest for 1-2 days to overcome weakness. In severe cases, hospitalization with intravenous (IV) saline may be required.
Once the person is completely treated from the food borne illnesses, he/she should follow precautionary measures to prevent it from recurring. The doctor will advise to have bland food for a couple of weeks. It is even advised to have freshly cooked food rather than having packaged and processed foods. One should not consume stale or left over food (especially non vegetarian food) in order to prevent lower intestinal infection. It is also advisable to drink pure and clean drinking water to avoid these illnesses.
As a concluding note, one should note that maintaining cleanliness and hygiene can help in prevention of these diseases to a great extent. Take care!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.