Intestinal infection is a disease that affects all age groups, although it is more common in children.
It causes discomfort such as diarrhea and vomiting and restricts daily life.
This disease, which can also be contagious, poses a risk to public health.
What Will We Learn?
What Is Intestinal Infection?
Intestinal infection (gastroenteritis) occurs when the intestine is infected by a virus, bacteria, or parasite. Viral and bacterial infections are more common than parasitic infections.
Common symptoms of gastroenteritis are listed below:
- nausea, vomiting
- Appetite and weight loss
- Muscle pains
Diarrhea is a condition in which stools become soft and watery, accompanied by an increase in bowel movements, causing the need to go to the toilet frequently during the day.
Diarrhea is the most common symptom of gastroenteritis.
Abdominal pain along with diarrhea are also among the symptoms of intestinal infection. In viral gastroenteritis, blood is not seen in the stool.
In some bacterial gastroenteritis, the stool is bloody and mucous, while in others, the stool is water-like and does not contain blood.
Dehydration is a picture that occurs as a result of excessive loss of fluid from the body.
Conditions such as vomiting and diarrhea seen in gastroenteritis cause excessive fluid and salt loss from the body.
Especially in the presence of intestinal infection in infants, dehydration due to vomiting or diarrhea can develop very quickly.
While dehydration causes symptoms such as excessive thirst at first, as fluid and mineral loss increases, it leads to conditions such as dry mouth, drowsiness, decrease in tears, and sunken eyeballs.
In cases where the fluid loss table gets worse, acceleration in the pulse, deep and rapid breathing, and inability to urinate can be seen.
Dehydration can become so severe that it can cause shock and can reach a level that can be life-threatening.
For this reason, people with signs of dehydration should apply to the nearest health institution.
Is Intestinal Infection Contagious?
Intestinal infection is a contagious disease.
Intestinal infection may occur in cases such as consuming food contaminated with the causative agent, touching the hands that have been in contact with the patient to the mouth, and close contact with the infected person.
Behaviors such as drinking water and cooking in areas where clean drinking water is not available increase the risk of infection.
Where personal hygiene is not good enough, the infection can spread between people.
Infection may occur in people who consume food as a result of using water contaminated with one of the pathogens that cause intestinal infection in food preparation.
Compliance with general cleaning rules is a very effective method in preventing intestinal infection.
It is very important to wash hands, especially before eating, after using the toilet or changing the baby’s diaper.
Conditions such as the clean water to be used, the use of water with a known source, and the proper disinfection of water in places such as pools are also protective in terms of infections that can be transmitted through water.
Washing vegetables and fruits with plenty of water before consumption, consuming animal foods such as meat and eggs thoroughly cooked, storing the foods in suitable conditions after cooking, using pasteurized milk and dairy products are also issues that should be considered in protecting against intestinal infections.
What Causes Intestinal Infection?
Intestinal infection can be caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites.
There are many different types of bacteria that lead to the development of gastroenteritis.
E. coli bacteria, which is one of the most common bacteria in intestinal infection, causes abdominal pain, bloody stool and vomiting symptoms.
This bacterium can be taken into the body by consuming foods that have been in contact with animal manure.
Salmonella, another common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis, enters the body as a result of consuming animal foods such as raw or undercooked meat and eggs.
Shigella is a bacterium that enters the body through water sources such as swimming pools and causes intestinal infection.
Viral gastroenteritis is a disease that can affect people of all ages and is a common disease in the community.
Norovirus is a highly contagious intestinal infection that causes fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and body aches.
The virus can be transmitted to the body through contaminated food, surfaces, and people carrying the virus.
This virus can easily spread in crowded places, leading to epidemics.
Outbreaks are especially observed in the November-April period.
Rotavirus ranks first among the causes of intestinal infections in children.
The virus enters the body when children touch an object contaminated with the virus and then put their hands in their mouth.
After about two days, a picture of watery diarrhea, vomiting and loss of appetite occurs.
Rotavirus vaccine, which is a very effective method to prevent this situation, is available in most countries.
For ideal vaccination, vaccination should be started between the 2nd and 3rd month.
Intestinal infections caused by parasites are not common, but can cause significant problems.
The parasite, called giardia, can be transmitted to people through human contact, as well as water sources and swimming pools.
Infection of the intestines with this parasite also leads to gastroenteritis.
Gastroenteritis caused by the parasite called Entamoeba Histolytica is known as amoebic dysentery.
This parasite, which causes bloody diarrhea, can be easily taken into the body from contaminated food.
The patient’s history and examination are usually sufficient for the diagnosis of intestinal infection.
However, further investigations may be required in cases where treatment planning is planned for the causative agent of the infection.
The most commonly used methods in the diagnosis of gastroenteritis are stool examination and culture.
Thanks to these methods, the type of bacteria or parasite causing the infection can be determined and appropriate treatment can be started.
In addition to these methods, serological tests, PCR, and pathological examinations can also be applied to make a diagnosis.
How Is Intestinal Infection Treated?
Gastroenteritis usually heals on its own without the need for additional treatment.
Recovery time varies depending on the pathogen causing the disease and the patient’s immune system.
The use of antibiotics does not contribute to the healing of viral and parasitic intestinal infections.
The use of antibiotics in some bacterial intestinal infections may lead to prolongation of the recovery period and recurrence of the disease.
In some cases, the death of the bacteria causing the infection causes the toxins in the bacteria to be released into the body at once, which can lead to serious health problems.
For this reason, the use of antibiotics for the treatment of intestinal infection must be carried out with the knowledge and approval of the doctor.
The drugs used in the treatment of intestinal infection are aimed at reducing or eliminating the symptoms.
Although diarrhea is the most common symptom in gastroenteritis, the use of antidiarrheal drugs is not recommended.
Since the use of these drugs may delay the elimination of the pathogen causing the disease from the body, they should not be used.
Since diarrhea causes excessive loss of fluid and salt from the body, it is recommended that people with diarrhea take plenty of fluids.
It is recommended that people with diarrhea feed frequently and avoid fatty and fibrous foods that will accelerate bowel movements.
In the child age group, where diarrhea and loss of appetite can often be seen, it is recommended to add watery foods that the child likes to the diet.
Foods that are both nutritious and high in liquid content, such as yogurt and ayran, are recommended during diarrhea.
It may also be beneficial to consume foods such as lean meat and fruit juice to meet the amount of energy the child needs.
Since raw vegetables and fruits contain high amounts of fiber, they can accelerate bowel movements and cause diarrhea.
Consumption of this food group should be interrupted during diarrhea.
Babies with diarrhea should continue to be breastfed and receive enough breast milk.
How Do You Treat An Intestinal Infection?
Ginger root is a herbal remedy that you can use to get rid of bacterial or parasitic infections in the intestines.
This herb contains both antiviral and antibacterial agents that can help fight infection in your body.
It can relieve inflammation in the intestinal lining by regulating intestinal flow.
This can help you reduce abdominal swelling and pain.
Peppermint tea soothes irritation of the intestinal walls and reduces inflammation.
Peppermint tea has antispasmodic properties.
In short, it absorbs excess intestinal gas and relieves abdominal pain to a great extent.
In some cases, intestinal infections can cause unwanted side effects such as vomiting and nausea.
In such cases, consuming mint tea can help your stomach relax.
Lemon juice can be used to detox any foreign substance in the gut.
Lemon juice is a great natural remedy to get rid of bacteria, fungi, viruses or parasites in your gut.
Lemon juice can also relieve symptoms such as loss of appetite, abdominal pain, cramps and diarrhea, and stimulates regular intestinal flow.
How Do You Get A Intestinal Infection?
Contaminated water or food is usually the cause of the transmission of intestinal infection.
Causes such as contacting an infected person, using the person’s cutlery, drinking water from the same glass, using the same toys can cause the transmission of this disease.
How Long Do Intestinal Infections Last?
Mild patients usually take a day or two to improve their symptoms, although it may take up to 14 days for some people.
If your diarrhea is severe, persists for a long time, or you feel unwell, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Is Intestinal Infection Serious?
Intestinal infections are a disease that can often be seen among people and often do not cause serious health problems.
However, in some cases, the severity of the disease is excessive and can cause serious health problems.
Therefore, if this type of infection is suspected, a healthcare professional should be consulted.