Dysentery is a condition characterized by a state of infection borne in the gut, especially the colon, manifested by diarrheal discharges with the presence of blood, mucus and/or pus in the stool and tenesmus (spasmodic and painful contraction of the anus associated with the sustained need to defecate). The loss of fluids and minerals can result in dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

Commonly the terms "dysentery" and "diarrhea" are used as synonyms, but in reality dysentery is a particularly serious form of diarrhea. Dysentery, in addition to the release of liquid copious stools (as in diarrhea), is also characterized by the release of blood, mucus and/or pus along with feces, and often the defecation is particularly painful.

The most common cause of dysentery is the causative agent of diarrhea infectious. It can also be caused by: Entamoeba histolytica (amebic dysentery) or Shigella dysenteriae (bacillary dysentery) and in rare cases it can be caused by Giardia lamblia and Balantidium coli. Although the infectious form of the disease is the most common, there are several other diseases that may be associated with the dysentery.


What kind of diseases can be associated with dysentery?

Diseases that can be associated with dysentery are the following:

  • Colitis
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Viral gastroenteritis
  • Food intolerance
  • Crohn's disease

Remember that this is not an exhaustive list and it is highly recommended to consult your doctor, in case of symptom’s persistence.


What is the therapy for dysentery?

The treatment for dysentery should be aimed at fighting the underlying disease and restore the balance of fluids and electrolytes in the body. Rest and intake of saline rehydration are recommended for recovery, so that the body can replace the fluids and minerals lost due to the frequent distresses.


When is most likely to contact your doctor in case of dysentery?

In case of dysentery it is always good to consult a doctor and get an advice on how the problem should be solved. In case of an emergency (ulcerative colitis) immediate help should be sought.