Dysentery is a serious condition affecting the large intestine. It is characterized by inflammation and ulceration of the bowel, a colic pain in the region of the abdomen and passing of liquid or semi-formed stools with mucus and blood. Children are more prone to this disease than adults.
The pathological condition of dysentery is caused by two organisms, protozoa and bacilli. The dysentery caused by former is generally known as amoebic dysentery and by latter as bacillary dysentery. An attack of amoebic dysentery is milder in comparison with bacillary dysentery. But while bacillary dysentery can respond quickly to treatment, amoebic dysentery does not, unless the patient is very careful. Dysentery is prevalent allover the world, except in very cold countries. Places, where poor sanitary conditions prevail, are particularly affected. The disease is most common in late summer, and in hot, tropical climates.
Dysentery in children may be acute or chronic. The acute form is characterized by pain in the abdomen, diarrhea and dysenteric motions. Yellowish white mucus and sometimes only blood from the intestinal ulcers is passed with stools. The evacuations are preceded by pain and tenesmus. The child feels a constant desire to evacuate his bowels, although there may be nothing to throw off except a little mucus and blood. There is a feeling of pain in the rectum and along the large intestine. With the advance of disease, the quantity of mucus and blood increases.
Occasionally, casts or shreads of skin-like mucous membrane, from small fragments to 12 inches or so, long and an inch wide,are seen to pass out with motions. Sometimes pus is also thrown out with motion and often the small of the stools becomes very foetid. All the digestive processes are upset and secretions are changed or stopped.
Chronic cases are after-effects of acute attacks. The child does not recover completely. Stool remains putrid and may contain blood, while diarrhea and constipation may alternate, and general health is disturbed. In severe cases, the temperature may rise to 104′ to 105′ F. It may occasionally become subnormal also.
Causes of Dysentery
Dysentery is caused by either protozoa or bacilli. However, the germs develop in the colon as a result of putrefaction of excessive quantities of animal protein food, fried substances, too-spicy foods and hard-to-digest fatty substances. Thus dietary indiscretion and’ eating of excessive amounts of flesh food in hot weather or tropical climate results in indigestion of such foods. The other precipitating factors include debility, fatigue, chill, lowered vitality, intestinal disorders and over-crowed, poor sanitary conditions.
The incidence of amoebic dysentery is very high in areas devoid of proper sanitary facilities. The infection may occur due to contamination of water with human sewage containing amoebic cysts. Various foods may be contaminated by being fertilized with human sewage or by flies exposed to infection .or by careless food handlers who have the disease. Children may infect themselves by playing in muck contaminated with amoebic cysts.
Bacillary dysentery is caused by certain germs of the shigella group, of which there are several varieties. These organisms are spread from one person to another by contact, as well as through contaminated food and water. The disease may also be spread by flies. It is common in younger children. The germs pass directly into the intestine, causing swelling and superficial ulcerations. The inflammation in severe cases may involve whole of the colon and also the lower part of the small bowel.
Treatment For Dysentery
The treatment of dysentery should aim at removing the offending and toxic matter- from the intestines ana for alleviating painful symptoms, stopping the virulence of the bacteria and promoting healing of the ulcer. The child-patient should be kept on liquid diet for the first 24 hours. The use of butter-milk will be especially beneficial as it combats offending bacteria and helps establishment of helpful micro-organisms in the intestines.
The child may be given about 15 to 20 ml. of castor oil with milk. This will facilitate quicker removal of offensive matter, minimize the strain during motion and also act as a lubricant to the ulcerated surfaces. The child should be kept on complete bed rest as movement induces pain and aggravates distressing symptoms. Hot water bags may be applied over the abdomen.
After acute symptoms are over, the child may be allowed rice, curd, fresh ripe fruits, especially bael, banana and pomegranate and skimmed milk. Solid foods should be introduced very carefully and grad~ally according to the pace of recovery. Fresh fruits and vegetable salads, which have a detoxifying and cleansing effect upon the intestines, should form the major portion of the future diet. Flesh foods of all kinds should be avoided in future as far as possible. Other foods which should be avoided are tea, coffee, white sugar, white flour and products made from them.
Home Remedies for Dysentery
1. Orange Peel
Take a tablespoon of dried orange peel, crushed and ground to a powder. Add a tablespoon of large black raisin seeds. The fruit part of the raisin is laxative in nature, whereas the seeds are not. Powder the seeds, and add it to the crushed, powdered, dried orange peel. Take a teaspoon of this mixture once a day for 3-4 days. The combination heals the ulcers in the intestines and stops the passage of mucus in stools.
2. Mango Flowers
Take a tablespoon each of fresh mango flowers and pomegranate flowers. Mango flowers are small and grow in bunches on the tree, whereas pomegranate flowers are bigger, hence just one or two of them will suffice. Grind them together and mix in a glass of buttermilk. Both have astringent as well as soothing properties. The mango flower also has a styptic action which will stop the oozing of blood. Hence, both these act on the ulcers in the intestine. Have once a day for 3-4 days.
3. Dry Pomegranate Seeds
Make a paste of dry pomegranate seeds (Anardana) and Raisin (Kishmis) with a little of salt in it , It is a most effective remedy tried successfully by many.
4. Fenugreek Seeds
Take a tablespoon of fenugreek seeds. Grind and keep aside. One-fourth of a teaspoon of this powder, with a cup of fresh yoghurt, had 2-3 times a day, clears the mucus in the stool. Alternatively, a tablespoon of the juice of fenugreek leaves, taken with 1-2 black rasins, will also relieve dysentery.
5. Cumin Seeds
Roast 1/2 tsp cumin (jeera) seeds and 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (dana methi). Mix and powder it, add to 4 tsp of yogurt (curd). Take thrice a day.
6. Fresh Lemon Juice
Have the juice of – two lemons added to a glass of water, with rock salt and sugar to taste, 3-4 times a day.
7. Mix 1/2 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp ginger juice, and 1/4 tsp pepper powder and drink it.
The use of pomegranate (anar) rind is another effective remedy for dysentery. About 60 grams of rind should be boiled in 250 ml milk. It should be removed from fire when one third of milk has evaporated. It should be administered to the patient in three equal doses at suitable intervals. It will relieve the dysentery very soon.
Apple is also considered beneficial in the treatment of acute and chronic dysentery in children. Ripe and sweet apples should be turned into soft pulp by steaming and given to the child several times a day, from one to four tablespoons, according to age. The American Medical Association has also advocated the use of apples as therapeutic agent in dysentery.
Mashed banana together with little salt is a very valuable remedy for dysentery. Several cases both acute and chronic dysentery is cured by this treatment.