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Article: Gastrointestinal Protozoal Infections | Intestinal Infection | Stomach Pain

Gastrointestinal Protozoal Infections | Intestinal Infection | Stomach Pain

Gastrointestinal Protozoal Infections

Author:

Dr. Veena Deo

Amoebiasis:

Amoebiasis is an infection caused by microscopic one-celled parasites called amoeba. It is caused by Entamoeba histolytica, a single-celled protozoan that enters the human body primarily through the ingestion of cysts present in water or food. It is spread in humans by the cysts. It is one of the leading parasitic causes of morbidity and mortality in the tropics and is occasionally acquired in other countries such as the UK. It is more common in Mexico, Central America, parts of South America, South Asia, Egypt, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. Incidence is comparatively rarer in the United States.

Cysts of Entamoeba histolytica are ingested in water or uncooked foods contaminated by human faeces. Infection may also be acquired through anal/oral sexual practices. The incidence of this disease is higher in regions where hygiene is poor. If the person has lower immunity, then the chances of this disease are higher.

Clinical Features:

Most amoebic infections are asymptomatic. The incubation period of Amoebiasis ranges from 2 weeks to many years. When symptoms occur, they usually begin within months after the presence of amoeba in the body. Frequent motions with stomach cramps, diarrhoea, and constipation occur alternately, with blood or mucus in the stool, and abdominal pain in the right lower quadrant.

Amoebic Liver Abscess:

Amoebic Liver Abscess usually occurs in the right hepatic lobe. Diarrhea may not be associated with this. The early symptoms like local discomfort and malaise, a swinging temperature and sweating occur. An enlarged, tender liver, cough, and pain in the right shoulder are characteristic, but the symptoms may remain vague and signs minimal.

If the Abscess is large, it may penetrate the diaphragm and rupture into the lungs; from there, its content may be coughed up. Rupture into the pleural cavity, the peritoneal cavity or the pericardial sac is less common but becomes more serious.

Ref: Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine

Management:

Intestinal and early hepatic amoebiasis respond quickly to oral metronidazole (800mg 8 hourly for 5 to 10 days) Herb Kutaj has efficacy in relieving the symptoms of Amoebiasis, as Kutaj has a lethal action on Amoeba.

Amoebiasis is diagnosed with the help of certain blood exams and stool tests.

Ref: Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine

Herbs To Treat Amoebiasis: 

Kurchi (Holarrhena antidysenterica) has efficacy in treating Amoebiasis, as it has a lethal action on Amoeba. It is a reputed drug for chronic dysentery & diarrhoea. A decoction of Holarrhena antidysenterica & Aegle marmelos (Bael) fruit is beneficial in mucous diarrhoea with blood.

Aegle marmelos (Bael) – The fruits are always used in chronic diarrhoea. Possesses anti-amoebic, carminative, astringent, and digestive properties.

Ref: (Wealth of India, rev Vol 1, 1985 CSIR, 80-90- Ayurvedic Drugs & their plant sources, Sivarajan VV & Indira Balachandan, 1994, 515)

Cyperus rotundus (Musta) - Useful in diarrhoea, dysentery, and other disorders of the stomach & irritation of the bowels. (IMM, 429, ADPS, 316, Glossary of Indian Medicinal plants, Chopra RN et al, 1956, 88)

Punica granatum (Pomegranate) - Highly effective in chronic diarrhoea, dysentery, dyspepsia & colitis. Ref (ADPS, 123, IMM, 1034)

Take all these remedies with the consultation of Doctors.

Natural Home Remedies:

  • Barley water and carrot soup are beneficial. 
  • Drink buttermilk after adding a small amount of roasted cumin seed powder & a small amount of black salt to it.
  • Drink boiled water. 
  • Pomegranate juice is also advisable. 
  • Powder the dry seeds of Mango. Then mix this powder with a little bit of honey & take it. 
  • Add a little pinch of Turmeric powder in buttermilk & drink it. 
  • Prepare juice of Drumstick leaves, then mix with a glass of coconut water & ½ teaspoon of honey in it. Take this twice a day. Drumsticks contain Vitamins and Minerals 
  • Mix fresh mint juice with honey & lime juice & drink it. 
  • Drink a mixture of boiled water, salt & sugar. Sip it. This prevents dehydration of the body. 
  • Eat freshly cooked food. 
  • Black Tea daily helps to overcome the problems of Amoebiasis.
  • Eat the fruit pulp of Aegle marmelos (Bael) with honey or sugar. 
  • Take dried Guava Leaves. Powder it and take it. 
  • Fiber-rich food is advisable. Chewed Garlic (Allium sativum) clove daily. 
  • Extract the juice from Apricot leaves. Add a small amount of water to it and drink it. 
  • Make a paste of Neem leaves and Turmeric in Mustard oil. Apply this paste on the stomach region; this will help to alleviate the stomach cramps. 
  • Add Asafoetida in buttermilk. 
  • Zinc acts as an antioxidant. It helps to protect the body tissues from damage. It also boosts immunity. Take oysters, wheat germ, Pumpkin seeds, and peanuts. 
  • The combination of Cumin Seeds, powdered Isabgol, and yogurt is advisable. 
  • Oregano is an aromatic herb containing Vitamin K, vital minerals, high fiber content, and antibacterial properties. 
  • Barley water and carrot soup are beneficial.

Avoid:

  • Avoid food rich in refined sugar, processed food, and alcohol. 
  • Avoid buying or eating street food that is not covered. 
  • Avoid adding ice cubes as they may be made from contaminated water. 
  • Maintain proper personal hygiene.

Though I have mentioned the quantity of ingredients in some Natural Home Remedies, consult the Ayurvedic Physician for the quantity of ingredients and also for Natural Home Remedies before taking it.