What is amoebiasis?
A health article about amoebiasi fromYour Health Online the A to Z directory of dealing with Health Problems & nutritional Self Care Strategies
Amoebiasis (Amebic Dysentery) is a infectious disease caused by the parasite Entamoeba histolytica. Amoebiasis is a parasitic infection of the large intestine. It is a difficult infection to treat with allopathic drugs, and repeated courses of specific medication are needed.
Amoebiasis can affect anyone, however, the disease mostly occurs in young to middle aged adults.
Amoebiases occurs worldwide, although much higher rates of incidence are found in the tropics and subtropics.
Although anyone can have this disease, it is most common in people who live in developing countries that have poor sanitary conditions.
In developed countries, amoebiasis is most often found in immigrants from developing countries. It also is found in people who have traveled to developing countries and in people who live in institutions that have poor sanitary conditions. It also commonly affects active homosexual men.
The Medical Hournal of Australia reports “Entamoeba histolytica is one of the most common parasitic infections worldwide, infecting about 50 million people and resulting in 40 000–100 000 deaths a year.”
Though only about 5,000 to 10,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S., leading to about 20 deaths annually.
Signs & Symptoms
Amoebiasis is characterized by non specific diarrhoea with loose, semi formed, foul smelling stools, or dysentery with mucous, traces of blood and small quantities of stools passed repeatedly. Often there is an ineffectual urge to defecate again and again, with very little stool actually being passed. There is much flatulence with abdominal cramps. In severe cases, the liver and other organs may get affected, causing specific conditions related to organ, e.g., hepatitis, cysts, abscess, etc. The most common symptoms of amoebiasis are diarrhoea (which may contain blood), stomach cramps and fever.
How is amoebiasis spread?
Amoebiasis occurs when Entamoeba histolytica parasites are taken in by mouth and the most common way this happens is by person-to-person spread. Amoebiasis can also be spread by:
• Drinking contaminated water.
• Eating contaminated raw vegetables and fruit.
• Unprotected oral-anal sexual contact.
The incubation period is highly variable and may be even as short as a few days or as long as several months or even a year. The presenting features may be gradual, severe or fulminating, and include:
1) Gradual onset colitis: Mild intermittent diarrhoea and abdominal discomfort, usually progressing to bloody diarrhoea with mucous. Systemic manifestations such as nausea, headache, low grade fever and anorexia are often present.
2) Severe acute amoebic dysentery: Episodes of frequent semi liquid stools containing blood, mucous and trophozoites. Abdominal findings range from mild tenderness to frank abdominal pain with high fevers and systemic symptoms. The liver is often tender. Between relapses, symptoms diminish to recurrent cramps and loose or soft stools, but emaciation and anaemia continue.
The normal runes of hygiene are the best ways to avoid amoebiasis problems:
• Everyone should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and hot running water for at least ten seconds before preparing food and eating.
• Wash your hands after smoking and going to the toilet.
• Foods which are best to avoid are uncooked foods, particularly vegetables and fruit, which cannot be peeled before eating.
General medical therapy involves relieving symptoms, replacing blood, and correcting fluid and electrolyte losses.
Antibiotics, such as Metronidazole are often used and considered necessary my many medical practitioners. They are given for 5 days for amoebic dysentery and for 10-14 days if there is a liver abcess or extraintestinal spread. Large abcesses in the liver may require drainage, using an ultrasound scan to localise the abcess accurately and position the drainage needle.
Self Care strategies for Living with amoebiasis
This is one of those complaints that you need to pay particular attention to. When it presents with symptoms you need to seek medical advice and follow through on your treatment. If you do not pay attention to this you can become very ill and you may even die.
We recommend that your first action is to work with your doctor to get the bacterial infection under control and then you can look at self help strategies to recover and to keep you system strong to help prevent the problem reoccurring.
Diet change strategies:
Whenever your body is under stress you suffer some damage. This can lead to long term damage or it could be brought under control quickly and have little long term effect.
The key is often in getting your body back into balance quickly so that it can repair the damage and be able to fight infection and future problems.
I recommend that you read the article we have on nutrition to understand how our body absords nutrition and gets it down into our cells. This whole process of healing your digestive systems is import to recovery from a traumatic illness like this.
Further reading through our articles on health issues will give you a body of information that will help you decide what options you have to deal with the underlying health issues coming from your amoebiasis problem.
We wish you well in your search for solutions to this problem and your movement towards better health in all areas.
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