Intestinal Infection Symptoms in Humans
Intestinal infections are inflammation that occurs in the small and large intestine. Common intestinal infection symptoms are digestive disorders. Symptoms and clinical signs can include diarrhea that can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, blood in the stool, abdominal pain, fever, and chills. Conditions with medical term enterocolitis can be caused by various types of infections due to viruses, fungi, bacteria, or parasites.
There are 2 types of intestinal infections, namely necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and pseudomembranous colitis.
Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)
NEC is the formation of necrosis or dead tissue in the gut. This condition generally occurs in premature infants and can cause death.
The cause of the emergence of dead tissue is not known until now. Several factors that allegedly have the potential to increase the risk of infants experiencing NEC include:
- Consumption of formula milk more than breast milk.
- Blood transfusion.
- A seriously ill baby.
In addition to diarrhea and vomiting, NEC can be characterized by symptoms such as abdominal bloating, difficulty eating, an enlarged abdomen, weakness, and breath, heart rate, blood pressure, or body temperature becomes unstable.
Babies who experience these symptoms should immediately undergo detailed examination such as ultrasound or X-ray on the abdomen, stool sampling to check for the presence of blood, as well as complete blood tests (including blood gas analysis and electrolyte levels).
If positive for NEC, the doctor will immediately recommend a number of methods of treatment. The steps are as follows:
- Stopping oral feeding.
- Provide fluids, nutrition, and antibiotics through an IV.
- Remove the gas from the intestine through a tube inserted into the stomach.
The stomach X-ray procedure and blood test are also recommended every 6 hours. This step is very important so that doctors can always monitor the condition of the patient.
If the patient’s condition does not improve or get worse, the doctor will recommend the following surgery:
- Appointment of dead tissue of the intestine.
- Procedure of perforating the abdominal wall to remove the small or large intestine tip.
There are several serious complications potentially experienced by people with NEC. Examples include sepsis, peritonitis, liver disorders, short bowel syndrome, and hollow intestines.
Pseudomembranous colitis is one type of swelling or severe bowel inflammation. The inflammation is caused by the excessive development of Clostridium difficile (C.diff) bacteria.
Under normal conditions, C.diff bacteria do exist in the human colon. But if you take antibiotics, these bacteria can develop uncontrollably.
Pseudomembranous colitis including infectious diseases because C.diff bacteria can spread through the spores contained in the stool. Some of the factors that can increase a person’s risk for developing the disease include:
- Age. This disease is more often diidap by adults.
- Use of antibiotics, such as ampicilin, clindamycin, and cephalosporin.
- Treatment venues such as hospitals, nursing homes or other medical institutions.
Spread can occur through the hands of medical workers who are contaminated with the spores.
- Patients who stay for a long time in the hospital, for example due to severe illness.
- The immune system is weak, for example due to chemotherapy.
If you have diarrhea (5 to 10 times a day for adults and at least 3 times a day for more than two days in pediatric patients), stomach cramps, feeling the need to defecate, and appear blood in the stool, immediately consult a doctor.
Types of examination to be undertaken by the patient generally in the form of colonoscopy, sigmoidoskopi, and examination immunoassay to check the presence of C.diff bacterial toxins in stool samples. Immunoassay is the detection or measurement of certain substance levels through the use of antibodies (generally) or antigens (rare).
If the patient’s diagnosis is positive, the doctor will suggest some treatment steps. Among others are:
- Stop taking antibiotics that cause pseudomembranous colitis.
- Giving fluids through the infusion to handle dehydration due to diarrhea.
- Take other antibiotics to control C.diff’s bacteria. For example, metronidazole, vancomycin, and fidaxomicin.
- Operation. This procedure is only recommended if other measures prove to be ineffective.
Through careful and thorough treatment, pseudomembranous colitis can be cured without the threat of complications. However, the usual risk of complications such as dehydration, large bowel holes, and large bowel swellings persists.
Similarly, the possibility of relapse which generally requires further treatment. This step is usually done with antibiotics for the long term.