Amoebic dysentery is an intestinal illness
caused by a parasite.
Amoebic dysentery is caused by a parasite called
Entamoeba histolytica. You may develop amoebic dysentery if you:
Put something in your mouth that has touched the stool of a person infected with
Swallow water or food that has been contaminated with
Touch cysts (eggs) from
E. histolytica—contaminated surfaces and bring them to your mouth
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Factors that increase your risk of getting amoebic dysentery include: Living in or traveling to developing countries, places that have poor sanitary conditions, tropical, or subtropical areasLiving in institutions with poor sanitary conditionsHaving anal sexual intercourseHousehold contact with infected person
Most people with the parasite do not have symptoms. Symptoms may include: Loose
stools or constipationBloody stoolsConstant feeling you need to move your bowelsNauseaWeight lossStomach painFeverPain on your right, upper side (if you have the parasite in your liver)
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your doctor will need tests of your bodily fluids and waste products. This can be done with: Blood testsStool samples
Images may need to be taken of your bodily structures, especially your liver. This can be done with: UltrasoundCT scan
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Several antibiotics are available to treat amoebic dysentery or liver infection. Probiotics may also be helpful to reduce the symptoms.
To help reduce your chances of getting amoebic dysentery, take the following steps when traveling to a country that has poor sanitary conditions: Drink only bottled water or water that has been boiled for at least one minuteDo not eat fresh fruit or vegetables that you do not peel yourselfDo not eat or drink unpasteurized milk, cheese, or dairy productsDo not eat or drink anything sold by street vendorsWash your hands frequently with soap and water. Use hand sanitizers if soap and water are not available.People carrying the parasite may need to be treated to avoid spreading it to others.
Last reviewed June 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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