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Diarrhoea- one of the leading causes of Gastrointestinal tract Infection.

Hey, can you remember your last stooling experience? It is very important to know you didn’t stool because of the food you ate. It doesn’t  sound logical right? You also didn’t react badly because you had a meal that did not suit you. Most times, all of these occur because of Gastrointestinal infection in the stomach, passed from stage to stage through the digestive tracts.

What is Gastrointestinal Infection?

Gastrointestinal tract Infection infection occurs as a result of viral, bacterial, or pathogens gaining access to the body through the mouth or food where they undergo stages in their growth. It is important to note that these infections range in their effects. It could be mild and self-treated and it could be severe. These infections occur mainly in the intestines. Gastrointestinal tract infection can also increase the buildup of other diseases in the body.

Infection can be caused by the consumption of contaminated food, also referred to as food poisoning, Diarrhea,  a condition where the body produces too many toxins in the gut lumen, leading to the release of liquid and unformed feces. 

Children, as well as adults, suffer from gastrointestinal tract infections making it very important to take preventive measures to curb them.

There are different terms to describe some gastrointestinal tract infections. They include:

  • Gastroenteritis: This is a condition characterized by vomiting, stooling and severe abdominal discomfort in the patient. Gastroenteritis is simply referred to as Food poisoning.
  • Diarrhea: Diarrhea is an infection in the small intestine. It occurs when the body produces excess liquid or fluid in the gut lumen, leading to the production of liquid and unformed feces. This condition could be mild or severe, depending on its effect on the patient.
  • Dysentery: Sometimes, ladies mistake this infection as one that comes with their monthly flow. Dysentery is an inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, an infection in the large intestine. Its symptoms are stooling, fever, blood or pus in feces, and abdominal cramps.
  • Enterocolitis: It is an infection as a result of an inflammation in the mucosa in the small and large intestines. The mucosa is a membrane that secretes mucus. It forms the lining of various body passages that communicate with the air, such as the respiratory, genitourinary, and alimentary tracts including the mouth, nasal passages, vagina, and urethra.

Effects of Gastrointestinal tract infection include:

  • Cholera: Cholera is an infection of the gastrointestinal tract leading to the production of enterotoxins. The severe kind of cholera makes the patient produce rice water stool. This results in the loss of body fluid every hour, in the body. Symptoms associated with this disease are Dehydration, weakness, and death in extremely severe cases.
  • Local inflammation in response to superficial microbial infection
  • Deep invasion of the blood to other parts of the body e.g Hepatitis A
  • Perforation of the mucosa epithelium after infection.

Food Poisoning

 This occurs because of the consumption of chemical or bacterial toxins in the food. During food preparation, the organism that transmits these toxins is killed but the toxins remain. They are passed from the mouth, into the esophagus then the stomach where they begin to react. Sometimes, food provides an environment for the toxins to thrive, produce many and cause disease to the patient. e.g Salmonella

For an infection to occur, the pathogens are consumed in large quantities where they exert dominance or influence over host defenses in the upper gastrointestinal tract, thereby gaining access to the intestines where they produce enough toxins that can cause infection.

Symptoms of Food poisoning are;

  • Stooling
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Vomiting, in some cases
  • Weakness
  • Tiredness/fatigue

Below are some of the Treatment for Food poisoning: 

  • Drink plenty of water: One of the common symptoms of food poisoning is Diarrhea and this would lead to dehydration in the body. It is very important to drink enough water to maintain the body’s hydration.
  • Use ORS: This is used to restore the body to its normal hydrated state, after losing a considerable amount of salt and water.
  • Eat a bland diet: Food like rice, cereals, and banana that are easily digested are advised to be eaten.

Diarrheal Infection

Diarrhea is an infection in the small intestine. It occurs when the body produces excess liquid or fluid in the gut lumen, leading to the production of liquid and unformed feces. Developing countries are known to have this infection, in men, women, and mostly children leading to a high rate of infant mortality.

Diagnosis of the infection varies as different pathogens are recognized as the leading cause of these infections. Details of the patient’s recent travel, recent food, or microscopic examination where the blood is taken to detect toxins or pus in feces or bloodstreams. 

  • Escherichia coli: The effect of this bacteria differs in its severity. In developing countries, it is more complex to distinguish between this bacterial infection from Cholera because of the similarities in their symptoms. ETEC is the most common bacterial infection for children in developing countries. Food and unpasteurized milk are some of the leading causes of this infection.
  • Salmonella: Mostly associated with food-associated infection, otherwise known as food poisoning. There is a large animal reservoir of infection, which is transmitted to man via

contaminated food, especially poultry and dairy products. Waterborne infection is less frequent. Salmonella infection is also transmitted from person to

person and therefore secondary spread can occur, for example within a family after one member has become infected

after consuming contaminated food. Diarrhea is the most common manifestation of infection caused by Salmonella spp

  • Campylobacter: Studies have shown that animals are the leading cause of this bacterial infection. Campylobacter is the most common diarrhea infection in animals and humans. Transmission from person to person is not common. However, there is an association between infection and food items that have had contact with birds, poultry, etc.

Treatment of Diarrhea 

  1. Avoid self-treatment as much as possible. Oftentimes, what is presumed to be the cause of the infection might not be. It is very imperative to always visit the hospital when symptoms arise.
  2. Seek medical attention: Don’t live with the assumption that “this drug” is the cure. Especially among children, it is important to seek the attention of medical experts before you self-care. You can start by booking a consultation with one of our pharmacists here
  3. Eat moderately: Some people are known to eat anywhere, at any time. It is important to take caution on everything you consume. Food must be prepared in a hygienic environment too 
  4. Use your drugs: Medical experts would prescribe drugs to you after consultation. Ensure to always complete your dose to eliminate the toxins produced in your body. You can also get your authentic drug products here because too much emphasis cannot be placed on getting good drug products.
  5. Wash your hands after every trip, after using the toilets, and playing with pets and poultry.

The gastrointestinal infection could also be described as a condition people refer to as being Lactose intolerant, constipation, and bloating among others.

Treatments for Gastrointestinal infection include:

  • Eat food that is rich in fibre. Fibres are known to aid digestion more easily and reduce uneasy digestion and abdominal pains. Examples of fibre food are  Bread, Corn, Oats, Rice, and fruits like Banana, Avocado, etc
  • Drink enough water to reduce dehydration and provide the body with liquid to perform its metabolism.
  • Exercise frequently
  • Avoid eating dairy products like milk, butter, cheese, and ice cream.

Did you learn something new? Share this with someone who needs to know about gastrointestinal infection today! If you need to talk to a medical expert about some of the symptoms you are experiencing, reach out to a pharmacist here

Health, they say, is wealth!

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