We all have bacteria in our digestive tracts. However, these bacteria should be harmless and do not cause any disruption when they are well-managed by our digestive organs. Otherwise, abnormal presence of bacteria may occur, and this infestation is responsible for some symptoms of intestinal bacterial infection, such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and in more severe cases, malnutrition or bleeding.
What causes an infection in the intestines?
The digestive tract or the gastrointestinal tract is filled with muscle that passes foods through the small intestines to the colon. If you are healthy and there is no health disruption present, these muscular activities along the digestive tracts will sweep the foods from the stomach into the colon properly, in that all the bacteria present are also sweep through to its final site, the colon. Some conditions, though, may be responsible for improper or insufficient muscular activities that result in the inability of these muscles to sweep the foods and bacteria to the colon. Instead, there is some bacteria leftover in the small intestines. The presence of these bacteria increases your risk of having intestinal bacterial infection.
There are some conditions which contribute to abnormal muscular activity in your digestive tracts, such as:
- Diseases that damage either the nerves or muscular system. Diabetes mellitus and scleroderma are the most-frequently blamed ones. While the former is responsible for nerve system damage, which disrupts the control of the intestinal muscles, the latter affects the intestinal muscle directly, inhibiting it from working properly.
- Physical obstructions in the gut, which is resulted from surgeries or diseases, such as Crohn’s disease. These obstructions cause bacteria build up in the small intestine, causing bloating and excessive gas, which are the initial symptoms of intestinal infection.
- Diverticulitis, or the formation of small sacs in the intestine walls also inhibit bacterial transfer to the colon and thus, trigger the presence of bacterial sacs in the intestine walls. These sacs are the result of continuous low fiber diet.
- Certain medications, which trigger disruption to the normal gut flora. The most common kinds of these medications include antibiotics, acid-blocking drugs, and steroids.
- Your diet also plays an important role in the way your digestive tract works. If you are consuming diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol in prolonged period, you are in higher risk of having bacteria overgrowth in your small intestine, which will result in intestinal infection.
- Contaminated foods can also cause intestinal infection. Foods, which are not properly handled or cooked, or water source that is contaminated by fertilizer may cause bacterial infestation. In the intestines, these bacteria produce toxins, which trigger food poisoning symptoms. While this kind of intestinal infection is not life-threatening in adults, it can be a major concern for young children. Food poisoning causes frequent vomiting and severe diarrhea and thus, may trigger dehydration in young children, which can be fatal.
Causes of intestinal infection in kids
While in adults above risk factors have a significant role in causing intestinal infection, gastrointestinal infection in kids is usually triggered by a quite distinguished risk factor. There are a couple of major factor causing intestinal infection in children, such as:
Intestinal infection in children, similarly to adults, is signed by diarrhea and stomach upset. The most common risk factor causing the problem is rotavirus infection. Like the other kind of intestinal infection, this viral infection symptoms are watery diarrhea and vomiting. Although virus-induced intestinal infection may cause mild infection in adults, it can be severe in kids under the age of two.
Young children is also susceptible to bacterial infection of the intestines, especially if these children have just started to eat solid foods. Foods which are carelessly prepared might contain Salmonella, which causes severe diarrhea, in that they inhibit proper food absorption in the small intestines. In addition to young children, house pets are also susceptible to this intestinal infection, which should be a concern, as the infection can be easily transmitted to humans. Although intestinal bacterial infection is common with children and can be harmful, initial treatments can prevent the symptoms from becoming more severe.