The appearance of bloody diarrhea often signals the arrival in the gastrointestinal tract of some dangerous or foreign element. The new threat or illness has caused blood to appear in the diarrhea as a symptom of an underlying issue. Fortunately, most such problems are temporary and are not a reason for great concern. This article, however, focuses on situations wherein bloody diarrhea might be caused by more than just a passing condition.
Microbes Can Cause Severe Digestive Problems
In January of 1993, news reports mentioned cases of apparent food poisoning among residents in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Evidence indicated the poisoning had resulted from consumption of contaminated meat. The Food and Drug Administration sampled 300 carcasses at the supplier’s factories, at three different points in the slaughtering process. Researchers traced the source of the poisoning to its origin and identified a particular bacterium—a type of E. coli named O157:H7.
Ingestion of bacteria called Salmonella can cause someone to have bloody diarrhea. Salmonella has been found in raw eggs, undercooked eggs, and in contaminated meat, milk, and poultry products. Salmonella becomes a suspected cause of food poisoning when someone has eaten a tainted pork product or something with mayonnaise left out too long.
Shigellosis is a less common cause for bloody diarrhea. It appears most often when humans live in crowded conditions. Contamination of a person’s GI tract with Shigellosis indicates the contamination occurred by a fecal-oral route. In other words, even one individual that carelessly fails to wash his or her hands after touching waste can cause viral infection and sickness for their entire community.
Testing for Infectious Microbes in Food
Restriction enzymes are proteins found only in bacteria. These enzymes allow the bacteria to cut the DNA of invasive viral elements at specific points. Any particular bacterium must have on its own DNA a specific restriction enzyme sequence, if it is going to be making that same restriction enzyme. The test developed at UC Berkley provides laboratories with a new way to diagnose cases of poisoning by O157:H7.
Armed with the new test kit’s sequence-identifiers, testing laboratories were well prepared when, in September and October of 2006, the FDA received reports about another apparent outbreak of food poisoning. People who had eaten contaminated food told their doctors about experiencing bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps as symptoms. Researchers found that some contaminated spinach contained traces of O157:H7.
Physiological Reasons for Blood in Bowel Movements
An estimated two million Americans suffer bloody diarrhea as a result of ulcerative colitis. This condition is also known by the names Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Crohn’s disease. Scientists have not yet identified the agent that causes IBD—whether it’s a bacterium, virus, or a chemical irritant within the immediate environment. Scientists theorize such an agent penetrates the thin lining of the intestine and then lodges in the deep walls of the bowel.
The infectious agent interferes with the ability of the bowel to carry out its normal functions. The body reacts to the irritant with a standard defense mechanism—inflammation of the irritated region. The combination of failed colon function and inflamed intestinal lining can cause the sudden appearance of bloody diarrhea.
Treatment for Bloody Diarrhea
As with food poisoning, bloody diarrhea caused by IBD is a temporary condition. Health problems caused by food poisoning are usually treatable conditions. Such treatments can include the adoption of certain dietary changes, such as foregoing food “triggers” and eating more raw vegetables and fruits.
While such treatments usually offer the needed benefits, there are times when such treatments also prove ineffective. Sometimes the IBD becomes more serious or even a potentially deadly problem. When that happens, then the patient must undergo surgery, so that the diseased portion of the patient’s colon can be removed. Following that removal, the surgeon connects the two healthy segments of the colon. However, this is usually considered a last resort. The best treatment for any negative health condition is to try to prevent it from ever occurring.
Maintaining optimal digestive health depends on several factors, some of which may not seem related to the intestines at first glance. Start by making healthful choices in the supermarket. Buy organic or locally grown foods to avoid as many preservatives, pesticides, chemicals, and other body toxins as possible. Sometimes, you can develop sensitivity or an allergy to these dangerous substances over time and this can lead to many digestive difficulties. Next, drink purified water instead of coffee, colas, artificially sweetened drinks, and especially alcohol.
Remember a simple rule of thumb—anything you drink besides water requires water to break it down. Begin a comprehensive exercise routine, to the limits or your personal abilities of course, focusing on aerobic conditioning for greater oxygen intake plus muscle development. There’s nothing like a good sweat to purge toxins from the body and strengthening the muscles can help you have easier bowel movements as well.
After your workout, get plenty of rest at night and avoid eating after 8:00 pm or 2 hours before bedtime, whichever is earlier. Your body doesn’t digest food well when it’s trying to wind down and prepare for the next day. Finally, research colon cleansing and discover its many health benefits. Regular cleansing of the colon, perhaps with an oxygen based supplement, can assist your body in eliminating waste more efficiently and with less damage to tissue from straining due to constipation. Oxy-Powder® is an excellent choice for colon cleansing because it’s made from organic minerals, provides vital oxygen for your intestinal system, and brings no side effects like laxatives or other chemical based products. Implement these health-minded behaviors into your lifestyle and you’ll begin to see a real difference in your overall feeling and vitality!