Pathological processes affecting the intestines, develop gradually and at the initial stages almost do not bother patients. That is why people are often left without adequate medical care until the disease becomes chronic. What symptoms indicate diseases and how to treat intestinal infection, we will understand together.
Intestinal diseases are a group of inflammatory processes occurring in the colon and small intestine. As a result of various negative factors, the mucous membrane lining the internal organs is damaged and thinning. Gastroenterologists deal with intestinal problems.
Factors affecting the development of intestinal pathologies
Diseases of the stomach and intestines due to the impact on the body of negative factors, and in rare cases, the cause of inflammation is some one circumstance. The more various causes simultaneously affect the human body, the more difficult the disease will be and, as a result, it will be harder to treat it.
The factors affecting the development of any pathologies of the intestines include:
- eating disorders;
- mental overvoltage and stressful situations;
- bacterial intestinal infection;
- alcohol abuse, smoking;
- taking certain medications (for example, antibiotics).
Diseases of the small intestine include enteritis (pathological violation of the functionality of the small intestine), carbohydrate intolerance, gluten enteropathy (caused by the lack of necessary enzymes in the body), vascular and allergic diseases of the small intestine, Whipple's disease and others. All of them begin their development due to the violation of the integrity or irritation of the mucous membrane lining the small intestine, due to improper feeding or taking specific medications.
Diseases of the large intestine include colitis, including ulcerative disease, Crohn's disease, diverticulosis and other colon irritations, tumors and other diseases. The most common inflammatory processes in this area are caused by a bacterial infection, however, there are cases when the cause is a long course of antibiotics, malnutrition, and so on.
Diseases of the small intestine
When it comes to bowel disease, the symptoms and treatment depend on the negative factors that provoked the pathology. The small intestine is the longest part of the gastrointestinal tract. He is involved in the adsorption of nutrients from food. Considering diseases of the small intestine, it is necessary to take into account not only the factors of their appearance, but also their various combinations. This will allow the patient to assign the most appropriate therapy.
Inflammatory processes that occur in the small intestine, called enteritis. The disease is usually acute or chronic. The cause of acute enteritis is usually an infection (food poisoning, "illness of dirty hands", etc.). The characteristic symptoms of diseases of the small intestine are expressed by the appearance of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other signs of general intoxication, as well as fever and fever. The causative agents are Salmonella, cholera and other microorganisms of the typhoid paratyphoid group. Bacterial and protozoal infections, various disorders of the immune system are characteristic of chronic enteritis. A feature of the chronic form of enteritis is the fact that it is preceded by an inflammatory or inflammatory-dystrophic disorder that occurs in the small intestine. As a result of such a disorder, a person develops problems with digestion, and pathogens multiply in the small intestine, which leads to immune and metabolic problems.
Symptoms of diseases of the small intestine
In case of bowel disease, the symptoms and treatment depend on the severity of the inflammation and the location of its inflammation. Symptoms of the disease can vary from mild to severe. The periods of the active phase of the disease are replaced by periods of remission. The clinical picture of inflammation of the small intestine is characterized by the following manifestations:
- diarrhea - is a common problem for people with similar diseases;
- increased body temperature and increased feeling of tiredness - often with problems with the intestines, a person has low-grade fever, he feels exhausted and overwhelmed;
- abdominal pain, colic - inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membrane of the small intestine can affect the normal movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract and thus cause pain and spasms;
- the presence of blood in the stool - it usually indicates internal bleeding of the small intestine;
- loss of appetite - abdominal pain and colic, as well as the presence of inflammation in the body, as a rule, dulls the feeling of hunger;
- rapid weight loss.
The clinic of chronic diseases of the small intestine is caused by the development of recurring diarrhea and impaired absorption syndrome. Diarrhea is provoked by hypersecretion of water and calcium ions in the body, intestinal over-exudation, an increase in osmotic pressure and a violation of the transport function of the intestinal contents. Impaired absorption syndrome is a result of recurrent diarrhea.
Symptoms of the chronic form of the disease include enteral dispersion syndrome (the appearance of unpleasant sensations in the abdomen in the area around the navel). In addition, the patient is tormented by rumbling and arching feeling in the lower abdomen, bloating. Abdominal pains can be spastic, cramping or dull. If the pain intensifies after eating, it means that the disease has passed into a neglected form.
Colon diseases include chronic inflammation of all or parts of the colon. First of all, it is ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Both diseases are associated with severe diarrhea, excruciating abdominal pain, fatigue and weight loss. If a person has a suspected intestinal disease, the symptoms and treatment should be determined as soon as possible, since the lack of adequate therapy can lead to life-threatening complications.
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory disease that causes the formation of ulcers along the inner wall of the colon. Crohn's disease is characterized by inflammation of the mucous membrane of the entire gastrointestinal tract, inflammation usually spreads deep into the affected tissues and can affect both the large and small intestines. Collagen and lymphocytic colitis are also considered diseases of the large intestine, but, as a rule, are treated separately from the classic inflammatory bowel diseases.
The exact causes of inflammatory bowel disease are still unknown. Earlier, pathological factors included stress, diet abuse. Now doctors know that such reasons may aggravate, but not provoke a problem. It is believed that the most common diseases of the colon are caused by a bacterial infection, which penetrates into it with low-quality food, drinks, taking antibacterial drugs. Also one of the possible causes is a violation of the immune system and heredity. Intestinal problems also appear due to constriction of the blood vessels in the large intestine and disruption of its blood supply. As a rule, this reason is typical for elderly people.
Symptoms of colon diseases
Many signs of bowel disease are typical and overlap with each other. The characteristic symptoms include abdominal pain, dull or cramping in nature, spasms are possible. The internal surface of the large intestine is covered with ulcers that can bleed. Patients complain of morning fatigue, defecation with discharge of blood and mucus, anemia (with the loss of a large amount of blood), joint pain. Often with the disease there is an uncontrolled weight loss, loss of appetite, fever, flatulence, dehydration. Often, the patient appears anal fissures.
It is very important that such a colon disease, the symptoms of which can be mistaken for other diseases, be promptly diagnosed. In the absence of adequate treatment, the patient increases the risks to the development of complications (oncology, fistula, intestinal ruptures and intestinal obstruction).
Chronic enterocolitis is a simultaneous inflammation of both the small and large intestines, which is characterized by atrophy of the mucous membrane lining the inner surface of the intestines, which causes a violation of intestinal functions. Depending on the location of the inflammatory process, the disease is classified for small (enteritis) and large intestines (colitis) separately.
The causes of chronic enterocolitis are due to the effect on the human body of the following pathological factors:
- prolonged malnutrition;
- impaired immunity and metabolism;
- hormonal disorders, stress;
- intoxication with drugs and chemicals;
- features of the structure of the intestine;
- diseases of internal organs;
- intestinal and parasitic infections.
One of the most common causative agents of chronic enterocolitis are intestinal lamblia (photos of these parasites can be seen in the article). They are able to multiply rapidly and cause giardiasis. The signs of the disease include diarrhea, excess gas, cramps and abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Lamblia, photos of which are shown in the picture, exist in two forms: active and inactive. The active forms of parasites live in the human body, when they come out with feces, they become inactive and spread the infection outside the body.
Chronic enterocolitis often becomes the result of late or poor-quality treatment of acute forms of intestinal inflammatory processes. In addition, there is a risk of inheritance of the disease in people who were breastfed in infancy.
Adhesive bowel disease
Adhesions are thin fibrous tissue formed in the abdominal cavity due to various negative factors. Adhesive bowel disease, the symptoms of which are often expressed in the appearance of spasmodic pain, is especially dangerous for humans. The main complaint of patients, as a rule, is chronic abdominal pain, the nature of which is difficult to determine. Sometimes there is intestinal obstruction, constipation, frustration. In addition, adhesive bowel disease, the symptoms of which may be similar to gynecological problems, often causes female infertility.
The main symptoms of the disease include discomfort in the navel, cramps, feeling of abdominal distention. In places where adhesions appear, intestinal curling occurs, which interferes with the normal movement of its contents. Perhaps the development of complete intestinal obstruction. Unfortunately, not many diagnostic methods are able to detect adhesions: they are not visible both on the X-ray and ultrasound. They can be considered by using barium contrast during computed tomography. Treatment of adhesive disease is carried out by laparoscopic surgery or with open surgery by dissection of adhesions with a scalpel or an electric current.
Diagnosis of bowel disease
Diagnose inflammatory bowel disease should only be after the exclusion of other possible problems. This will require a combination of diagnostic tests. The diagnosis of bowel disease includes the following tests and procedures:
- Blood test - it is necessary to control the level of hemoglobin.
- Analysis of feces to detect blood in it.
- Colonoscopy - allows you to view the entire rectum with a thin flexible tube with a camera connected to it. During the procedure, the doctor may take samples for additional analysis (biopsy).
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy - is carried out using a thin flexible tube with a light sensor, which allows you to inspect the sigmoid portion of the colon.
- Upper endoscopy - the doctor uses a thin, flexible, lighted tube to examine the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine.
- Capsular endoscopy - is used to diagnose Crohn's disease.
- X-ray diagnostics - necessary for serious problems with the intestines, in order to exclude serious complications (for example, perforation of the colon).
- Computed tomography - the method allows you to see more different details in the picture than with x-rays The test evaluates the entire intestine as well as the tissues outside it.
- Magnetic resonance imaging - is a particularly effective method to eliminate fistula, tears and other complications.
Treatment of intestinal diseases
In order to effectively heal bowel disease, symptoms and treatment must be closely interrelated. The goal of treating inflammatory bowel disease is to reduce the inflammatory process, which gives rise to symptoms and causes discomfort. Adequate therapy will not only ease the manifestation of the disease, but also lead to long-term remission, reduce the risk of complications. Before treating an intestinal infection, the doctor makes a thorough diagnosis, which will allow you to choose the most effective methods of therapy.
Treatment can be medication, popular and surgical methods. Medications can alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Immediately it must be said that many patients will be forced to take drug treatment for an extended period of time. The choice of drugs depends on the localization of inflammation, the severity of symptoms of the disease and will be aimed at preventing the recurrence of the disease. Sometimes it may be necessary to combine drugs, supplement drug therapy with traditional recipes.
For the treatment of intestinal infections and inflammatory processes, the following categories of drugs are used:
- anti-inflammatory drugs (aminosalicytal, corticosteriods);
- antibacterial drugs (for example, the means “Ciprofloxacin”);
- immunomodulators (Methotrexate, Azathioprine preparations);
- disease modifying agents (drugs Infliximab, Adalimumab).
Treatment with medication should be accompanied by changes in diet, stress reduction, adherence to rest. A very important stage of treatment is that the patients should be followed by a diet for bowel disease. The diet should consist of healthy balanced foods with adequate amounts of protein and nutrients. Diet is chosen individually for each individual patient. The following are general recommendations regarding proper nutrition:
- eat small meals throughout the day;
- drink plenty of pure water (up to 2 liters in small portions, evenly distributed throughout the day);
- avoid high-fiber foods (legumes, nuts, bran);
- Refuse fatty and fried foods, sauces, foods that cause intestinal swelling;
- limit dairy products (in case of lactose intolerance);
- during treatment it is important to take vitamins B12, D, calcium, iron supplements.
Often the treatment of diseases of the intestine is carried out surgically. Basic operations, called resections, involve the removal of the affected areas of the intestine. Treatment of abscesses and fistulas in the area of the anus is carried out with the help of surgical intervention followed by drainage.
Proper digestive function begins with good overall health. The organs of the gastrointestinal tract depend on a robust immune system that is able to withstand infectious factors. Preventive measures are aimed at improving the health and well-being of a person.
- To give up smoking. Everyone knows that smoking provokes diseases of the heart, lungs, causes hypertension. According to statistics, 30% of all diseases caused by smoking are in the digestive system, more than 40% of them are intestinal diseases. Smoking increases the risk of developing ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, impairs the functioning of the liver and pancreas, etc.
- Body weight control. Obesity, especially if overweight is localized in the abdomen, causes diseases of the digestive system, esophageal diseases and rectal cancer are particularly likely.
- Active lifestyle. Studies show that physical activity reduces the risk of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, intestinal disorders in the elderly.
- Balanced diet. Avoiding high-fat foods helps reduce weight. In addition, healthy food is rich in fiber, which contributes to the normal functioning of the intestine.