Dysentery Definition Symptoms Cause Diet Homeopathic Medicine Treatment Homeopathy Doctor Clinic in Rajkot Gujarat India



Dysentery refers to the presence of grossly visible blood in the stools and is a consequence of infection of the colon and Liver by either bacteria or ameba.[1]

Overview of Dysentery

Bacillary dysentery is much more common in children than amebic dysentery.

Causes of Dysentery

The bacteria causing bloody diarrhea are

  • Shigella species
  • Enteroinvasive
  • Enterohemorrhagic E. coli
  • Salmonella
  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • flexneri is the commonest organism reported in developing countries and S. dysenteriae is associated with epidemics of dysentery.
  • Medications – e.g. Rifaximin, Sulfasalazine
  • Cancer
  • Yersinia [4]


Risk factors of Dysentery

  • The children are at a higher risk of shigellosis but it can occur at any age. It can easily spread from person to person and through contaminated food and water.
  • It usually spreads from close contact with an infected person at home, in schools, in day care centers and in nursing homes.
  • Amoebic dysentery is mostly spread by eating contaminated food or drinking polluted water in tropical areas with poor sanitation.(5)

Pathophysiology of Dysentery

  • Dysentery results from viral infections, bacterial infections, or parasitic These pathogens typically reach the large intestine after entering orally, through ingestion of contaminated food or water, oral contact with contaminated objects or hands, and so on.
  • Each specific pathogen has its own mechanism or pathogenesis, but in general the result is damage to the intestinal lining, leading to the inflammatory immune response.
  • This can cause elevated temperature, painful spasms of the intestinal muscles (cramping), swelling due to water leaking from capillaries of the intestine (edema), and further tissue damage by the body’s immune cells and the chemicals, called cytokines, they release to fight the infection.
  • The result can impaire nutrient absorption, excessive water and mineral loss through the stools due to breakdown of the control mechanisms in the intestinal tissue that normally remove water from the stools, and in severe cases the entry of pathogenic organisms into the bloodstream.
  • Some microorganisms – for example, bacteria of the genus Shigella– secrete substances known as cytotoxins, which kill and damage intestinal tissue on contact.
  • Viruses directly attack the intestinal cells, taking over their metabolic machinery to make copies of themselves, which leads to cell death.[4]

Types of Dysentery

The people experiencing dysentery either develop amoebic dysentery and bacterial dysentery.

  1. Bacterial Dysentery or Bacillary Dysentery
  • This type of dysentery is a result of infection with bacteria from Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, or enterohemorrhagic E. coli.
  • The diarrhea from Shigella is also called shigellosis. Shigellosis happens to be the most common type of dysentery.

      2. Amoebic Dysentery

  • Also known as amoebiasis, amoebic dysentery is caused by a single-celled parasite infecting the intestines.
  • This type of dysentery is a rare occurrence in the developed world and is mostly found in the tropical locales with poor sanitation.
  • A person can also become infected if he or she traveled to a country where it is an endemic.(5)

Sign & Symptoms of Dysentery

  • A child with bacillary dysentery presents with fever and diarrhea.
  • Diarrhea may watery to start with, but then shows mucus blood mix with stools.
  • There is tenesmus, which refers to ineffectual defecation along with straining and suprapubic discomfort.
  • The illness may complicate by dehydration, dyselectrolytemia, hemolytic uremic syndrome, convulsions, toxic megacolon, intestinal perforation, rectal prolapse also, very rarely, Shigella encephalopathy. [1]

Physical examination of Dysentery



  • Tachycardia may be present

Blood Pressure

  • Hypotension may be present


  • Skin may appear dry and skin pinch may be delayed due to dehydration.


  • The mouth and lips may appear dry due to dehydration.


  • Lower abdominal tenderness may also be present.[4]

Investigation of Dysentery

  • Stool culture and sensitivity should be sent for before starting empirical antibiotics.
  • CBC
  • If your healthcare provider suspects you have dysentery, they’ll order a stool culture.
  • To conduct a stool culture, your healthcare provider will give you a special container and a disposable spoon. The next time you have to poop, you’ll place plastic wrap or newspaper across the rim of your toilet to collect your poop. You can also poop into a different container. You’ll then use the disposable spoon to collect a small sample, put it in the special container and return it to your healthcare provider.
  • Your healthcare provider will send your sample to a lab. There, lab workers will test your sample for the presence of bacteria, parasites or ova (parasite egg cells).
  • You may have to provide samples of your poop over several days.
  • Your healthcare provider may also recommend a sigmoidoscopy. A sigmoidoscopy can help your healthcare provider confirm the diagnosis or rule out other causes of your symptoms. During a sigmoidoscopy, your healthcare provider will use a special scope to examine the inside of your lower (sigmoid) colon and rectum.(6)

Diagnosis of Dysentery

  • Your healthcare provider will diagnose dysentery. They’ll ask about your symptoms, conduct a physical exam and order tests.(6)

Treatment of Dysentery

  • Administration of ORS
  • Continuation of oral diet
  • zinc supplementation
  • Antibiotics are the components of treatment
  • Based on safety, low cost and efficacy, ciprofloxacin is the first line antibiotic for shigellosis.
  • Intravenous ceftriaxone should be the first line of treatment in a sick child.
  • Oral azithromycin can be used for shigellosis but the experience is limited.
  • Amebic dysentery is less common among children.
  • Tinidazole or metronidazole is the drug of choice.
  • Any young child presenting with blood in stools and persistent abdominal pain should be suspected to have intussusception and evaluated accordingly.[1]

Prognosis of Dysentery

  • With correct treatment, most cases of amoebic and bacterial dysentery subside within ten days, and most individuals will achieve a full recovery within two to four weeks after beginning proper treatment.
  • If the disease is left untreated, the prognosis varies with the immune status of the individual patient and the severity of disease.
  • Extreme dehydration can prolong recovery and significantly raises the risk for serious complications.[4]

Prevention of Dysentery

  • Wash hands regularly using soap and water particularly before & after using bathroom and food preparation.
  • Drinking water only from reliable sources such as bottles and cans that are well-sealed
  • Ensuring that food is cooked in good conditions
  • Cleaning the top of rim after opening the bottle and before drinking from it
  • Avoiding ice cubes as its water source may be unknown
  • Using purified water for cleaning the teeth
  • Being careful while changing a baby’s diaper.
  • Preventing yourself from swallowing water while swimming
  • Avoid unpasteurized milk, cheese or dairy products
  • Drinking tap water which is boiled for at least 1 minute or filtered through a 1-micron filter with chlorine or iodine tablets added
  • Eating washed and peeled fruit or vegetables. (5)

Complication of Dysentery

  • Shock
  • Delirium
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome
  • Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
  • Reactive arthritis [4]

Homeopathic Treatment of Dysentery

Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicines selected after a full individualizing examination and case-analysis. 

Which includes 

  • The medical history of the patient, 
  • Physical and mental constitution, 
  • Family history, 
  • Presenting symptoms, 
  • Underlying pathology, 
  • Possible causative factors etc. 

A miasmatic tendency (predisposition/susceptibility) also often taken into account for the treatment of chronic conditions. 

What Homoeopathic doctors do? 

A homeopathy doctor tries to treat more than just the presenting symptoms. The focus is usually on what caused the disease condition? Why ‘this patient’ is sick ‘this way’? 

The disease diagnosis is important but in homeopathy, the cause of disease not just probed to the level of bacteria and viruses. Other factors like mental, emotional and physical stress that could predispose a person to illness also looked for. Now a days, even modern medicine also considers a large number of diseases as psychosomatic. The correct homeopathy remedy tries to correct this disease predisposition. 

The focus is not on curing the disease but to cure the person who is sick, to restore the health. If a disease pathology not very advanced, homeopathy remedies do give a hope for cure but even in incurable cases, the quality of life can greatly improve with homeopathic medicines. 

Homeopathic Medicines for Dysentery

The homeopathic remedies (medicines) given below indicate the therapeutic affinity but this is not a complete and definite guide to the homeopathy treatment of this condition. The symptoms listed against each homeopathic remedy may not be directly related to this disease because in homeopathy general symptoms and constitutional indications also taken into account for selecting a remedy, potency and repetition of dose by Homeopathic doctor. 

So, here we describe homeopathic medicine only for reference and education purpose. Do not take medicines without consulting registered homeopathic doctor (BHMS or M.D. Homeopath).  



  • It may be used, esp. if the disease occurs in Autumn, when warm days are followed by cold nights.
  • In the incipient stages such troubles may be promptly checked by it esp. when they are ushered in with a high temperature.
  • The high fever is associated with great thirst, good deal of colicky pains and restlessness.
  • The stools are scanty, bloody and slimy and are evacuated with much tenesmus. If it fails, it is followed well by Merc.


  • It is useful, when there is griping pain in the hypogastrium, before stool.
  • The stools consist of blood and mucus, coming out in jelly-like masses.
  • The griping may or may not cease after stool. In addition, an extraordinary amount of mucus is expelled.

Arsenic Alb

  • Indicated in most serious cases, whose exciting causes are: Sudden chilling of the stomach and bowels by ice-water or ice- cream; alcoholic drinks in excess; certain poisons as the ptomaine of sausage meat that has been spoiled; rancid fat; spoiled butter or fat that has undergone decomposition; and lobster salads at certain seasons of the year.
  • The patient is very sick, as if near death’s door but he is restless and complains of burning thirst and yet exhibits an intolerance of water.
  • Burning pains The discharges from the bowels are brownish or blackish, and horribly offensive.


  • You will have to give it, when the discharges are offensive, bloody and attend by tenesmus, but with a significant absence of pain, showing an alarming depression of vitality.[3]


  • It is of use, when the discharges are bloody and slimy and mix with flakes, that look like scrapings from intestines, but in reality, fibrinous formations, resulting from the inflammation.
  • Colic-like pains of a cutting, burning, griping or wandering character, doubling the patient up.
  • Tenesmus mark and is almost always associated with dysuria.


  • It is good for Dysentery occurring in moist weather and best indicate in stout flabby persons.
  • The stools are bloody and slimy and contain shaggy pieces; they are frequent, but small in quantity and attended with violent tenesmus and burning in both rectum and bladder.
  • The pains and other symptoms increase by the slightest draft of either warm or cold air.
  • There is thirst, but drinking of water causes shuddering and increases the pains. [3]

Carbo Veg

  • It indicate in very severe cases, with great weakness and Hippocratic face, when: The discharges from the bowels are brown, watery and slimy and both stools and flatus are horribly offensive.
  • The abdomen greatly distend and tympanic.
  • There burning pains situated deep in abdomen, usually in one or the other of the bends of the colon.
  • The pulse is weak and intermittent.
  • In typhoid conditions as a sequel to Dysentery, it presents a more perfect picture of collapse and there are tympany, cold legs, esp. up to the knees, filiform pulse, cool breath, absence of discharges from the bowels or involuntary, putrid, bloody, purulent diarrhoea. The patient is, as if, near death.


  • It indicate in severer cases, when putrid or gangrenous changes occur .
  • The discharges are cadaverous smelling, and are of a dark or of a chocolate color, with coldness, great debility and Hippocratic face; the movements from the bowels provoke by every attempt to eat and drink.
  • The abdomen greatly distend and tympanitic Belching gives but temporary relief.


  • It indicate in the discharges from the bowels are frequent, watery and bloody containing white flakes or shreds, and followed by violent tenesmus, constriction of the anus and spasm of the sphincter ani, tormenting the patient more than the urging during stool.


  • The stools slimy and bloody-contain the so-call scrapings of intestines, made worse by any attempt to eat or drink.
  • They precede by violent tenesmus which ceases after stools.
  • Pains are atrocious-griping, cutting, stabbing colicky pains, which force the patient to bend double or to press firmly against the abdomen; they more often precede the stool and relieve afterwards, although they may sometimes continue after stool.[3]


  • Just before and during stool severe pain in sacral region and bowels, of a writhing drawing character; the pains radiate upward and downward, until the whole body and extremities, even the fingers and toes, become involved with spasms, eliciting shrieks from the patient.
  • Spasmodic pains in the bowels, with unusually severe tenesmus.
  • Tools like abdomen, but lumpy, with straining and burning in rectum, and sensation as if the faeces were hot during the stool nearly fainting.


  • Chill and pain in back; bitter taste in the mouth, burning of the tongue; soreness all over; watery stools attended with colic or green mixed mucus, with burning tenesmus and prolapses ani; offensive, frequent and copious stools, coming out all at once, giving great relief.

Kali bich

  • It indicate when the disease occurs periodically in the Spring, or in the early part of Summer.
  • The stools are brownish and watery and mixed with blood and mucus and attended with great tenesmus.
  • The distinctive symptom is the appearance of the tongue, which is dry, smooth, red and cracked.[3]


  • Excoriating discharges; cutting in the lower part of the abdomen, at night; the abdomen is externally cold to the touch;
  • Cutting stitch in the lower abdomen, from right to left, and aggravated by walking;
  • Faecal putrid taste in the mouth; nausea; with vertigo obscured vision, and flashes of heat offensive perspiration
  • The pains increase before the stool and during the stool, with violent tenesmus;
  • The pains rather increase after a stool, and sometimes they extend to the back, during the stool, hot sweat on the forehead, which soon becomes cold and sticky; frequent discharge of pure blood or bloody green mucus, like stirred eggs, screams during stool (in children). Aggravation during night till about 3 A.M.

Nitric Acid

  • In general, Diphtheric dysentery burning in rectum towards perineum, with ineffectual urging; straining without stool; stools bloody, with tenesmus; putrid, mucous.
  • Moreover, After which the tenesmus continues, followed by headache; dryness of throat.
  • Lastly, Violent thirst, intermittent pulse; anxiety and general uneasiness, exhaustion.

Nux Vomica

  • Stools, small, slimy, bloody, with urging.
  • Tenesmus ceasing after stool, like pitch with blood.
  • Pressing in loins also upper part of sacral region, with sensations if broken; longing for brandy.
  • Milky sours on stomach; great debility with over sensitiveness of all the senses; hypochondriac mood.


  • It will be the remedy in acute diseases when after the administration of Merc. the tenesmus and blood have ceased, but the mucus still persists.
  • A very strong characteristic symptom, which often indicates it in Dysentery, etc.
  • The lips are of a rich color or the redness of the various orifices of the body.
  • It best-adapt to chronic or persistent cases, esp. when tenesmus continues from one evacuation to another.
  • When the bleeding and tenesmus have abated, the stools are still slimy, with frequent sudden urging; or particularly after tenesmus has ceased, mucus and blood still discharge.[3]

Diet & Regimen of Dysentery

  • Avoid dairy products. If you have lactose intolerance, then dairy products can be a major cause of diarrhoea and should be avoided in general.
  • Do steer clear of too much fiber. Fiber is incredibly healthy when it comes to your everyday diet.
  • Eat a simple diet. The traditional anti-diarrhoea diet was the “BRAT” diet, which stood for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.
  • Wash your hands regularly. When you do wash, scrub your palms, the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails, and do it for at least 20 seconds
  • Stay hydrated. Above most other things, replenishing the fluids that can be lost during severe diarrhoea is an important step to take.[2]

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Dysentery?

Dysentery refers to the presence of grossly visible blood in the stools and is a consequence of infection of the colon and Liver by either bacteria or ameba.

Homeopathic Medicines used by Homeopathic Doctors in treatment of Dysentery?

  • Aloe
  • Arsenic Alb
  • Baptisia
  • Carbo Veg
  • Cinchona
  • Colchicum
  • Colocynth
  • Dioscorea
  • Kali bich
  • Nux Vomica
  • Sulphur

What are the symptoms of Dysentery?

  • Fever and diarrhea
  • Diarrhea- watery, mucus and blood mixed with stools
  • Tenesmus
  • Dehydration
  • Dyselectrolytemia
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome
  • Convulsions

What causes Dysentery?

  • Shigella species
  • Enteroinvasive
  • Enterohemorrhagic E. coli
  • Salmonella
  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • Medications – Rifaximin, Sulfasalazine
  • Cancer

References use for Article Dysentery

  1. Paediatrics 8th Edition – O.P. Ghai
  2. https://www.lybrate.com/topic/diet-for-dysentery
  3. Therapeutic Pointers To Some Common Diseases By E.A. Farrington.
  4. https://www.wikidoc.org/index.php/Dysentery_physical_examination
  5. Dysentery Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment (hlives.com)
  6. Dysentery: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment (clevelandclinic.org)
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