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Amebiasis: symptoms, causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Amoebiasis or amoebiasis is an intestinal infection caused by the amoeba Entamoeba histolytica. Anyone can get amebiasis, however there is a higher incidence in people who live in tropical areas or where sanitary conditions are poor. Amebiasis is the third leading cause of death from parasitic diseases; The parasite that produces the disease can live in the large intestine without causing any damage, however when it reaches the intestinal mucosa it causes ulcerations and inflammation of the same. At FastlyHealwe explain the symptoms, causes and treatment of amebiasis .

Symptoms of amebiasis

Generally, people who have been infected with this parasite do not have symptoms, but if they do appear, they seem between 7 and 28 days after being exposed to the parasite. Some of the symptoms of amebiasis are:

  • Abdominal cramps, which are manifested in the form of stitches in the stomach .
  • Excessive flatulence.
  • Diarrhea, the patient can go to the bathroom up to 8 times a day.
  • Mucus or blood in the stool.
  • Fatigue.
  • Weightloss.
  • Rectal pain

If measures are not taken against the symptoms described above, they can become worse and present as:

  • Liquid stools
  • More frequent diarrhea, up to 20 a day.
  • Fever.
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Muscular weakness.

Serious symptoms appear when the amoeba has reached the liver and an abscess begins to form, but this is rarely very common. However, it is recommended that at the first symptoms you visit a gastroenterologist to avoid further damage to your body.

Causes of amebiasis

As we have explained before, amebiasis is caused by a parasite that lodges in the colon from the consumption of contaminated food or water . The situations in which you can get amebiasis are:

  • Consume water or food contaminated with the amoeba.
  • Do not wash your hands after using the bathroom and before eating.
  • It usually occurs in places where human feces are used as fertilizer.
  • Bring your fingers to your mouth without having previously washed them.
  • Contact with the anal region of an infected person.

On the other hand, there are risk factors that increase the chances of contracting the disease:

  • Alcoholism.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Have some type of cancer.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Having traveled to tropical regions.
  • Use of corticosteroids that suppress the immune system.

Phases of amebiasis

It is said that 1 in 10 people have symptoms of the disease and some have only mild to severe diarrhea. Amebiasis develops in two phases:

  • Acute phase : Symptoms can last for weeks or months with severe abdominal pain and bloody stools. The acute phase is the most serious.
  • Chronic phase : in this case diarrhea and constipation alternate, the lack of treatment in this phase can cause death.

When the disease becomes severe, a number of complications can develop such as liver abscesses, bowel perforations or cutaneous amebiasis, where ulcers form around the anus.

Treatment for amebiasis

Treatment for amebiasis will depend on the severity of the infection, most of the time antibiotics are the most recommended drugs. In case of recurrent vomiting, it will be necessary to administer the medicine intravenously. Medicines for diarrhea are generally not prescribed, as these can make the situation worse. Once the treatment is completed, a stool exam will be performed to verify that the infection has disappeared.

In addition, you should follow a soft diet , that is, one that contains a lot of fluids, such as broths and gelatin, this will help you reduce dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea. Stay quiet until the fever and diarrhea have stopped. Medications such as ibuprofen are contraindicated , as they can aggravate symptoms. In the most serious cases, in which abscesses have formed, the doctor will indicate if it is necessary to do any surgical intervention to drain the pus that has formed in the organ.

Prevent amebiasis

There are some preventive measures that can help you avoid contracting the parasite:

  • Wash fruits and vegetables before consuming them.
  • Avoid eating at street stalls.
  • Drink bottled water, especially if you travel to tropical countries.
  • Wash your hands before eating and after using the bathroom.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Amebiasis: symptoms, causes and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Digestive System category .

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