Here’s a Look at What Causes Bacterial Intestinal Infections

10 Aug, 2013

Bacterial intestinal infection is a common condition that causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and sometimes bloody stools. Let’s take a look at what causes these infections.

bacterial intestinal infection

Bacterial intestinal infections are caused due to invading pathogenic bacteria that infect the intestines. This causes inflammation and development of a disorder called gastroenteritis. There are various bacterial species that can lead to an infection.

Common infection causing bacteria include Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus, Shigella, Clostridium, Campylobacter jejuni, Yersinia and Vibrio cholerae. Once infected, patients experience symptoms like mild to severe stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Let’s take a look at the different types of infections and how they are caused.

Types of Bacterial Intestinal Infections

Dysentery:
Dysentery is caused due to bacteria called Shigella dysenteriae. This bacterium releases a potent and harmful toxin called Shiga toxin into the body which leads to dysentery. The bacterium spreads through contaminated food, water, and contaminated hands entering the mouth. Symptoms include severe diarrhea which contains mucus and blood in the feces.

Salmonellosis:
Salmonellosis is caused due to the Salmonella bacteria. This bacterium is transmitted through undercooked or infected meat. Consumption of infected eggs and egg products, milk, tainted vegetables and fruits also transfer the bacteria into the body. Many reptiles and rodents carry the bacteria on their skin so handling pet reptiles and rodents could transfer the bacteria to humans. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramps.

Escherichia coli Infection:
This infection is caused by a bacterium called Escherichia coli (E. coli). Ingesting contaminated food or water is the main cause of this infection. Traveler’s diarrhea is one of the most common infections caused by E. coli.

Cholera:
Vibrio cholerae is the bacterium responsible for causing cholera. This infection is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food or water. Fecal contamination of water and food due to poor sanitation is the main cause for cholera. This infection causes watery diarrhea and vomiting.

Enteritis:
Enteritis is caused due to bacteria called Campylobacter jejuni. This bacterium is present in the digestive tract of birds and spreads through poultry. Contaminated or undercooked meat and poultry can lead to the transfer of this bacterium into humans. Symptoms of this infection include fever, abdominal pain, malaise and diarrhea.

These are some common bacterial intestinal infections and how they are transmitted. There are several effective medicines like Flagyl that help treat bacterial stomach infections. Antibiotic drugs like Flagyl are often prescribed for treating a variety of bacterial infections including vaginal, stomach, skin and respiratory tract infections. However, you should only use this or any other medicine after consulting a doctor.

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