Diet for Dysentery

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Robert Maurer
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Dysentery

Dysentery is inflammation of the intestine that causes diarrhea mixed with mucus and blood. Other symptoms may include fever, abdominal pain, and rectal tenesmus (feeling of incomplete bowel movement).


Dysentery is caused by certain infections or infestations - such as bacterial, viral, parasitic worms or protozoa - involving the entire intestine up to the stomach (gastroenteritis).

Sometimes, chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon, poisoning by pollutants or toxic and food intolerances (to lactose or gluten) may be involved. The pathological mechanism always foresees a very intense inflammatory state.
The complications of dysentery are the same as those of persistent generic diarrhea, but tend to be more severe (up to delirium and shock); sometimes they include stomach pains, nausea and vomiting.


In cases where bleeding and mucus loss are excessive, in addition to dehydration and salt deficiency, iron deficiency anemia can arise (especially in women).

If the infection / infestation affects the entire intestine, in addition to dehydration and a lack of mineral salts, there is also a generalized picture of malnutrition due to malabsorption.

The other complications are generally specific according to the causative agent (sepsis, colon perforation, etc.).
NB. It is important to underline that, in the third and fourth world, dysentery is a very frequent cause of death (especially that from amoebiasis - or from amoeba - due to debilitation and septicemia).
The treatment of dysentery includes:


  • Removal of the triggering agent
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Possible food supplement / drug therapy.

Diet

Leaving aside the treatment of the triggering agent, of an almost exclusively medical-pharmacological type, let us dwell on the nutritional regime.
The diet for dysentery is a diet necessary to restore normal fecal consistency, hydration and nutritional status.



WARNING! The effectiveness of the diet and supplementation depends on the presence and / or severity of the vomiting.

When vomiting cannot be countered or lasts for a long time, it is necessary to rely on hospitals for the application of parenteral nutrition.


Below we will list the basics of a diet for dysentery:

  • Gluten removal for celiacs. It can be the cause of dysentery itself and, especially in comorbidity with intestinal infections of various kinds, it is able to greatly affect healing.
    It is therefore necessary to eliminate cereals that contain gluten (wheat, spelled, spelled, rye, oats, sorghum and barley) and replace them with other cereals (millet, corn, rice, teff, etc.), pseudo-cereals (amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, etc.) and legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils, broad beans, soybeans, peas, lupins, etc.), as long as they are polished or peeled, therefore without bran or peel.
  • Removal of lactose. Not everyone is able to digest lactose; moreover, dysentery often causes a sort of temporary intolerance which requires the elimination of lactose, in order to avoid further worsening the diarrhea.
    Animal milk, animal yogurt, fresh cheeses and, in general, all dairy products are excluded.
    Very aged cheeses (Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, etc.) have a negligible amount of lactose. It is advisable to use milk and yogurt substitutes, such as soy, preferably fortified in calcium (the additional presence of vitamin D and riboflavin are however positive elements).
  • Discontinuation of unnecessary laxatives, medications and food supplements; certain drugs (anti-inflammatories, antacids, cimetidine, anticholinergics, etc.) and supplements (thermogenic, creatine, etc.) are capable of triggering or worsening diarrhea.
    Furthermore, sometimes dysentery can be voluntarily triggered through the excessive use of laxatives; it is a behavior called "purgation" or "compensation", adopted by people suffering from anorexia or bulimia nervose.
  • Removal of alcohol and, more generally, of nerve molecules. Alcohol, caffeine (from coffee), theine (from tea, especially fermented) and theobromy (from cocoa and chocolate), are molecules irritating to the intestine.
  • Removal of irritating additives contained in food. Certain additives are able to promote diarrhea; among these, the best known are: xylitol, polyphosphates, mannitol, etc.
  • Removal of spicy molecules. We are talking about capsaicin (chilli), piperine (pepper), gingerol (in ginger), allicin (onion, garlic, etc.) and isothiocyanate (horseradish, mustard).
  • Elimination of cooking techniques that produce carbonized molecules, promoting moderate and healthy ones. The toxic residues from the carbonization of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids are: acrylamide, acrolein, formaldehyde and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
    The foods that contain them are: fried (chips, croquettes, pancakes, etc.), grilled or grilled or roasted (burgers, steaks, fish, onions, peppers, courgettes, aubergines, etc.) and toasted products (toasted bread, fruit dry etc). The best cooking systems are: boiling, pressure, steam, pot, vacuum and bain-marie.
  • Elimination, as far as possible, of fibers. These, which in a normal diet should amount to about 30g / day, in the diet for dysentery should be limited as much as possible. Obviously, this is not practicable; fiber is an integral part of certain foods, more precisely those that provide complex carbohydrates, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, carotenoids (provitamin A) and phenolic antioxidants. Contrary to the diet for diarrhea (in which fibers constitute about half of the normal amount), the diet for dysentery tries to exclude them and, possibly, to favor the supply of solubles. The foods to be avoided or drastically limited are: whole grains or bran, legumes with peel, fruit with peel and in general foods rich in fiber.
    As the dysentery begins to heal, it is possible to add little by little: larger portions of vegetables, larger portions of fruit, fruit with peel, etc.

NB. Both fruit and vegetables can be taken by pressing or centrifuging. It is necessary to specify that legumes, even if peeled or passed through a vegetable mill (to remove the peel), are not always considered suitable for this diet (tolerance is very individual); in fact, they contain a significant amount of fiber which could aggravate watery stools.



  • Average fat intake (25-30%). Better not to exceed with the lipid fraction, in order to avoid that it accentuates the laxative action; at the same time, it must be remembered that fats play an emollient and protective role for the mucous membranes.
  • Promote the hydrosaline maintenance. In addition to providing water (1 ml per kcal of energy) and mineral salts (especially potassium and magnesium) commonly needed, the diet for dysentery should be able to compensate as much as possible the losses with watery stools (up to 1 liter per day).
  • Presence of probiotic foods, provided they are NOT involved in the onset of dysentery. We are talking about Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria and Eubacteria, all bacteria that are part of the intestinal physiological bacterial flora. In addition to providing a protective barrier against pathogens, these microorganisms produce vitamins and nutrient molecules for the cells of the intestine (polyamines and butyric acid). The foods that contain them are: yogurt (including soy), buttermilk, kefir, tempeh, miso etc.
  • Use of astringent products. Certain foods have an astringent function; among these, the best known are lemon and potato. Adding lemon juice to the drinking water, as well as increasing the intake of vitamin C and potassium, favors the recovery of fecal consistency.

Supplements

Food supplements that can be used in the diet for dysentery are of various kinds.
If food nutrition is insufficient, it could be useful to integrate all the mineral salts (especially potassium and magnesium) and all the vitamins (especially vitamin C, carotenoids, vitamin K, etc.). Body fluids tend to be dispersed due to diarrheal discharges, while vitamins become deficient due to incomplete nutrition.
Only after medical consultation, in some cases it might be useful to take probiotic supplements or drugs (Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria and Eubacteria).




Example Diet against Dysentery "


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