Natural Cures For Infection In The Intestine

By Patricia | July 10, 2009

Most intestinal infections are caused by bacteria, virus, protozoans, and parasites. Stomach bugs and flus are common all over the world, with their incidences being higher in developing countries than developed nations. In the United States alone, however, intestinal infections are the second most common type of infection, second only to the common cold. About 375 million people are affected every year with intestinal infections, of which the most affected are children under the age of 5.

An intestinal infection spreads through contact with the pathogen in food, water, or fecal matter. The most common symptoms of an intestinal infection are diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramps, nausea, and vomiting. Treatment for this is mainly by hydrating the body and relieving the symptoms associated with intestinal infections. In this article, we will discuss the various causes, symptoms and treatment options for intestinal infections.

Causes:

Intestinal infection can be caused by a wide range of microorganisms and pathogens. Some of the most common causative agents of intestinal infections are listed below.

Bacterial infection: Bacterial intestinal infections occur through consumption of food that is contaminated with the infection causing or pathogenic bacteria. Bacterial infections most commonly occur in cases wherein food is not prepared or handled hygienically. Typically, these kinds of infections are seen in places where food is prepared for masses such as cafeterias in schools, fairs, and so on. Bacterial intestinal infection is usually because of not cooking meat products adequately as well as poor hygiene practices such as not washing hands before handling foods, not boiling drinking water and so on. Listed below are some of common causes of intestinal bacterial infection.

  • Cholera, caused by the bacteria vibrio cholera
  • Typhoid (Salmonella enteritis)
  • Parathyroid infections.
  • Shigellosis (Shigella enteritis)
  • E. coli infections
  • Intestinal staph infection (Staphylococcus)
  • Botulism (Clostridium botulinum)
  • Enteritis (Campylobater enteritis)

Viral infections: Viruses also cause a lot of stomach infections as well. The rota virus is the leading cause of intestinal infections in the world and has a high death rate in children under the age of 5. The ill effects of viral intestinal infections are greater in developing nations where general sanitation is very poor. With transmission being through contact, viral intestinal infections can spread very quickly. Some of the common intestinal infections are caused by the following viruses.

  • Rotavirus infections
  • Norovirus infections
  • Adenovirus infections
  • Astrovirus infections

Parasites and protozoans: Parasites and protozoans are another reason for intestinal infections. These however are usually not self-limiting and need medication to kill the pathogens. Some of the common intestinal infections caused by parasites and protozoans are listed below.

  • Amoebiasis (Entamoeba hystolytica)
  • Balantidiasis
  • Giardiasis (Giardia lamblia)
  • Cryptosporidiosis (Cyrptosporidium)
  • Intestinal trichomoniasis

Symptoms:

While there are a few differences in the symptoms of intestinal infections caused by different pathogens, the general symptoms are very similar. Listed below are the symptoms associated with intestinal infections.

  • Diarrhea
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramps in stomach
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Black or abnormally colored stools
  • High fever
  • Dehydration (thirst, fatigue, dizziness, feeling light headed, dark urine, and dry skin)
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Chills

Diagnosis:

As many microorganisms cause intestinal infections, diagnosing the cause can be quite tricky. The best way to figure out what kind of infection you have is through a stool test. This is done by taking a sample of the stool and testing it for the presence of certain pathogens.

Treatment:

Treatment for intestinal infections depends on the type of infection. For bacterial infections, antibiotics are usually administered. For parasitic intestinal infections, medication to kill the parasite causing the infection is usually prescribed. However, the best form of treatment is re hydration, eating a good diet, and getting plenty of rest.

Re hydration: Normal methods of re hydration include drinking plenty of water and fluids rich in minerals such as electrolytes. However, if one is not able to keep in the fluids due to vomiting, it would be necessary to intravenously administer fluids.

Best diet for stomach infection: In the past, it was recommended that a bland diet or what was commonly known as the BRAT (Banana, Rice, Apple Sauce, and Tea) was best for any kind of intestinal infection. Today, however, this theory is no longer valid. Health experts believe that the caloric value in the BRAT diet is not sufficient and a person can eat what he or she normally does. The key is to keep away from products rich in sugar and to ensure that your body is hydrated well. This means that you have to keep drinking a lot of fluid and eating normally. Foods to get rid of bowel infection include probiotics or beneficial bacteria such as those found in yogurt and curd. These have shown to help relive problems associated with intestinal infections quite effectively.

Although antibiotics are commonly administered, most doctors feel that they are not needed. Home remedies such as drinking plenty of water, eating foods such as yogurt and curd, and taking plenty of rest is usually more than sufficient to get rid of intestinal infections.

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