Bacterial infection in stomach: 10+ Causes, 9 Symptoms, 6 Treatments

Bacterial infection in stomach can trouble you a lot as it causes many unwanted symptoms. So, let’s learn why it occurs and how to get rid of it.

Severe stomach upsets are right up there with toothaches and headaches as being some of the most agonising and painful disorders known to man. A stomach upset can easily mess up your day depriving you of joy and an appetite for a meal.

Most stomach afflictions are occasioned by viral infections; however, let’s highlight stomach bacterial infections; whose symptoms are severe and can lead to fatalities.

As stated before, one of the causes of stomach pain is a bacterial infection in stomach that attacks your stomach and intestines leaving you reeling in pain. This bacterial stomach affliction is also known as Gastroenteritis.

The clinical term for this bacterial infection in stomach is Bacterial gastroenteritis. This affliction happens when harmful bacteria bring about an infection in your gut leading to the inflammation of the stomach walls. This affliction is also termed as food poisoning in some quarters.

So you’re experiencing painful, weird cramps in your stomach, and you suddenly can’t stand the sight nor the smell of food, how would you know that you are suffering from Bacterial gastroenteritis and not some other affliction?

Diagnosing Bacterial infection in stomach or Bacterial Gastroenteritis:

bacterial infection in stomach
Bacterial infection in stomach
Image source: greenrushdaily.com
Check Medical History:

The doctor will have a look at your entire medical history to look at similar cases in the past and past medication prescribed. The physician may also want to know the last meal you ate before symptoms started manifesting and when you had that meal.

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Check for Telltale Signs:

In his or her quest to discover the root of the problem, the doctor will ask questions about your symptoms to check for signs of stomach pains and dehydration.

To check for signs of abdominal pain, the doctor may gently press down on various areas of your abdomen to check for swelling and tenderness.

The doctor may also perform tests on your urine, a process known as urinalysis, to help tell whether you are dehydrated or not, and to what degree.

Dehydration can also be diagnosed by pinching a patient’s skin either on the abdomen, under the collarbone, or at the back of the hand. If the skin takes longer than usual to return to normalcy, then that is a telltale sign of dehydration.

Examining Stool Samples:

The physician may also request a stool sample to analyse and look for Bacterial gastroenteritis causing bacteria.

Examining Blood Samples:

The doctor may need to draw some blood to perform tests on your blood sample.

What Are the Symptoms of Bacterial infection in stomach or Bacterial Gastroenteritis:

The symptoms can show variation from patient to patient depending on the type of bacteria causing your infection. However, some of the common symptoms include;

A Loss of Appetite:

When you are suffering from severe stomach cramps, the pizza delivery guy is the last person you want to see. Abstaining from eating delicious fast food can be a good thing, but problems arise when your stomach upset deprives you of an appetite for even healthy wholesome meals.

Nausea and Eventual Vomiting:

This bacterial infection in stomach leads to nausea and eventually vomiting. Nausea can be triggered by mild unpleasant smells or even pleasant smells of perfume and air fresheners. The smell of food, strangely enough, can also cause nausea.

A few episodes of vomiting resulting from nausea can be dangerous since the vomiting can lead to dehydration. If the affliction goes unchecked, it can lead to severe dehydration which can be fatal.

Bouts of Diarrhea:

Bacterial gastroenteritis or bacterial infection in stomach causes diarrhoea. The severity of the diarrhoea is determined by the type of bacteria causing the infection. Excessive diarrhoea leads to dehydration which can cause fatalities if it goes unchecked.

Stomach Pains and Cramps:

This bacterial affliction causes severe stomach pains and painful, persistent cramps. These cramps are as a result of the bacteria attacking the walls of your gut and intestines, leading to agonising pain.

Blood in the Stool:

In severe and advanced cases of bacterial gastroenteritis, blood may be observed on the stool. This is a severe symptom and should not be taken lightly. Blood in the stool can lead to significant gradual blood loss which is never a good thing.

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A fever and Chills:

Bacterial gastroenteritis or bacterial infection in stomach can bring about severe fever, and chilling sensations even when in warm conditions. A patient’s temperature needs to be regulated to avert further complications.

Body Fatigue:

This affliction will result in you having general body weakness and fatigue, making you slow and sluggish while performing normal daily activities.

Weight Loss:

This bacterial infection in stomach is bound to cause weight loss because very little food is retained in the stomach due to the occasional vomiting. With time this will lead to weight loss.

Dark Stool:

Another symptom of this bacterial infection in stomach is the darkening of stool. This observation can directly give away the infection without necessarily conducting a lab test on the stool.

Causes of Bacterial infection in stomach:

A stomach infection can be brought about by numerous bacteria;

Yersinia:

This is a type of bacteria that is found in pork and pork products.

Staphylococcus:

This is a form of bacteria that is found in dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt and butter. It can also be found in meat such as beef and mutton as well in poultry products such as eggs.

Salmonella:

This is a form of bacteria that is found in meat, dairy products as well as in eggs.

Shigella:

This is a type of bacteria found in water, mostly in swimming pools.

Campylobacter:

This is a type of bacteria that is found in meat and poultry.

E.coli:

This is a type of bacteria that is found in ground beef and various salads.

How These Bacteria Get into Your System:

Bacteria get into your system generally after eating in restaurants, social events, and restaurants. Here is how these germs may contaminate your food.

Bad Food Handling:

This may occur in restaurants, grocery stores and at home.

Contaminated Meat:

Meat may come into contact with the bacteria during slaughter and processing.

Contaminated Water:

Water may be contaminated when the water source is polluted by trash or human waste.

The bacteria will get into your system if you eat:
  • Food prepared using dirty utensils
  • Food prepared by dirty and unhygienic individuals
  • Food that was not refrigerated properly
  • Raw meat products such as fish
  • Raw vegetables and fruits
  • Dairy products that haven’t been refrigerated for a while
  • Untreated water
  • Meat and eggs that have been undercooked

Now that we know the symptoms and causes of a bacterial infection in stomach let’s look at how you can treat the disease.

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Treatments for a Bacterial infection in stomach:

Antibiotics:

This affliction can be treated with antibiotics. Before you take any antibiotics though, seek a consult with a doctor.

IV Fluid:

In severe cases of stomach infection, IV fluid treatment may be necessary. This is done to replace the fluids and electrolytes lost due to diarrhoea and vomiting.

You can also explore some home remedies in mild cases to get rid of the symptoms.

Home Remedies in Mild Cases:

Hydrate Regularly:

It is advisable to drink fluids regularly, especially after vomiting and bouts of diarrhoea.

Potassium Packed Foods:

Eat food that is packed with potassium such as bananas, and drinks such as fruit juice.

Eat Small Regular Food Portions:

Since this stomach infection causes a lot of vomiting, it is advisable to consume small food portions regularly.

No Medication Without a Consult:

The painful symptoms experienced may cause you to take some off the shelf medication. This is a bad idea and might lead to more complications. Ensure you consult your doctor before taking any meds.

The fact that remedies for bacterial infection in stomach exist is a welcome relief. But how can we avoid these infections all together?

How to Prevent Bacterial infection in stomach:

Preventing a stomach infection is better than treating one. It will save you from all the pain and agony, and all the distress occasioned by symptoms such nausea and vomiting, fever and diarrhoea.

Avoiding this illness can also save you a lot of money that could have been used for treatment. Here are few of the ways you can avoid this stomach infection.

Wash Your Hands:

Washing your hands after using the toilet and before handling food is not advice to be heeded by just kids in preschool. That piece of advise can save a lot of adults as well from contracting a stomach infection.

Avoid Unpasteurized Milk:

Unpasteurized milk can lead to a bacterial stomach infection.

Wash Groceries Properly:

Before eating salads and fruits, ensure they thoroughly washed to avoid ingesting bacteria such as salmonella.

Proper Food Storage:

If you intend to store food for a few hours, ensure the food is stored at either very high or very low temperatures. This keeps bacteria away since they can’t survive in extreme conditions.

References:
  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/bacterial-gastroenteritis
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000254.htm
  3. https://www.healthline.com/symptom/abdominal-pain
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354092

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