Bacterial Dysentery or Bloody Diarrhea

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Bacterial Dysentery or Bloody Diarrhea (Disease)


Dysentery is the result of inflammation and swelling within the intestinal walls, which causes food and water to be improperly absorbed, leading to diarrhea.

Bacillary dysentery is a type of dysentery, and is a severe form of shigellosis. Bacillary dysentery is associated with species of bacteria from the Enterobacteriaceae family.

Causes and Risk factors

Bacterial dysentery is most commonly caused by the consumption of contaminated food or water. The most common types of bacteria that can cause dysentery are salmonella, E. coli, shigella and campylobacter.

Bacterial dysentery is especially common among people traveling to underdeveloped nations; in these cases it is often termed travelers diarrhea.

Food can become contaminated as a result of poor hygiene during food preparation, which can in bacteria spreading from unwashed hands or utensils into the food. Food can also get contaminated by being prepared with water from an untreated well other water source. Foods containing mayonnaise or undercooked eggs or meats can also contain bacteria, especially if they are allowed to remain at room temperature for extended periods, which encourages bacteria to form.

Bacterial dysentery causes patients to develop diarrhea. Sufferers may also develop cramps and abdominal pain. Other common gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea and vomiting. Some types of bacterial infections can lead to the presence of blood in the diarrhea, which will appear either as bright red streaks in the stool or may cause the stool to become dark and tar-like. Fever is another common symptom.

The most common complication from bacterial dysentery is dehydration. This is because the diarrhea can cause a dangerous amount of fluid loss.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Bacterial dysentery can usually be diagnosed by culturing bacteria from the stool.

Treatment often starts with an oral rehydration; if necessary, antibiotics may be prescribed.