Bacterial Infection Information
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Intestinal Bacterial Infection

The human body is host to multitudes of friendly bacteria, many of which live in our intestines and are beneficial for processing waste and assisting the body’s natural ability to absorb essential nutrients into a bloodstream, however an imbalance in an otherwise healthy body caused by intestinal bacterial infection can be very unsettling, or even fatal.

Recent reports of increasing rates of morbidity amongst elderly people from intestinal bacterial infections due to overuse of antibiotics used to treat other illnesses are worrying. Suggestions have been made that many antibiotic medications have only had the effect of healing us in the short term, with unknown consequences of adversely affecting the beneficial bacteria that inhabits our body.

This worrying trend is in large part being caused by incorrect use of antibiotics, in many cases for illnesses that are not caused by bacterial infection. The number of patients taking antibiotic medications for common colds, or who use medications left over in the family medicine cabinet is blamed as being a significant factor in rising death toll from intestinal bacterial infection.


Diarrhea is a major indicator of most intestinal bacterial infections, where frequent and watery bowel movements that can be very uncomfortable for the patient, although not all incidence of diarrhea is bacterial in nature. Changes in diet, or viral and parasitic infections can also cause diarrhea so it is important to seek medical advice if the symptom persists.

The most common forms of intestinal bacterial infection include salmonella, shigella, E. coli, Clostrdium, Staphylococcus, and Yersinia, and all of which cause inflammation of the stomach and intestines, otherwise known as gastroenteritus. In all cases of infection patients will complain of diarrhea.

Symptoms of intestinal bacterial infection vary depending on bacteria but will often include abdominal cramps and pain, bloody feces, loss of appetite, nausea sometimes accompanied with vomiting, and may include fever.

In the western developed world, most instances of diarrhea that can be traced to intestinal bacteria can be attributed to food poisoning from improper storage of sensitive foods like dairy, seafood, poultry, and particularly eggs. Food that has not been correctly cooked may allow bacteria to survive leading to infection in the stomach or intestine. Poor hygiene standards, particularly not washing hands, or a lack of sterilization of cooking and serving utensils, are definite hazards to be avoided.

Less developed nations or those suffering war, famine, or with significant populations living below the poverty line are very susceptible to outbreaks of intestinal bacterial infections, mostly from poor water supplies that are often contaminated with human waste. Suburban slums are specific locations where broken sewage pipes, or lack of sanitation systems altogether, are known hotspots where clean water is too easily mixed with dirty water carrying harmful bacteria.

In most instances, the treatment for intestinal bacterial infections will involve a course of antibiotics, often within a hospital environment, although medication should never be taken, nor will it be prescribed without first testing to ensure the correct medication and dosage is offered. Whilst death or permanent harm from intestinal bacterial infection is still relatively low in the developed nations, this is no cause for complacency.

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