Difference between Diarrhea and Dysentery

Key difference: Diarrhea and Dysentery are two different conditions that have similar symptoms. Diarrhea, also commonly spelled as diarrhea, is when a person has at least 3 or more loose stools in a day. Dysentery, on the other hand, is a severe infection in the intestine, especially the colon that results in diarrhea.

Diarrhea and Dysentery are two different conditions that have similar symptoms, which is why they are often confused. In fact, the terms are often also used interchangeably as many think that they mean the same thing. However, that is not the case.

The primary difference between the two is the fact that while dysentery is a condition, diarrhea can be a condition in itself or a symptom of another condition. Diarrhea, also commonly spelled as diarrhea, is when a person has at least 3 or more loose stools in a day. The reason behind this can be varied. It can be caused by anything including indigestion, eating something, upset stomach, or it can even be caused by an infection of some kind.

In addition to the loose stools, the most common symptoms of diarrhea include stomach pain, abdominal cramps, bloating, thirst, weight loss, and fever. It is most commonly caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasitic organisms. Usually the condition is mild and may even remedy itself. One can also try simple home remedies, or take over the counter medication. It is imperial to drink lots of fluids in order to avoid dehydration.

Dysentery, on the other hand, is a severe infection in the intestine, especially the colon. It is most commonly caused by a bacterial infection such as salmonella, shigella, campylobacter or e coli. This infection usually affects the way the intestine would normally process the food, thus resulting in diarrhea. It is also common for there to be blood in the stool, something that is not common in diarrhea normally.

It can be said that diarrhea is a symptom of dysentery, or even that dysentery is a specific type of diarrhea that includes blood in the stool and is caused by a bacterial infection. However, it should be noted that these sentences are neither technically correct nor wrong. This is why it is often confusing to differentiate between Diarrhea and Dysentery. Officially, Diarrhea and Dysentery are two different conditions.

Diarrhea is common and is usually not a cause for concern. In fact, it is estimated that a person may get diarrhea twice a year. However, if it lasts for more than two days or the person starts to get dehydrated, or there is blood in the stool or urine, then it is best to consult a doctor. If a person suspects that it may be something more than regular diarrhea then it is best to consult a doctor. Better safe than sorry.

Comparison between Diarrhea and Dysentery:

 

Diarrhea

Dysentery

Definition (Oxford Dictionaries)

A condition in which faeces are discharged from the bowels frequently and in a liquid form.

Infection of the intestines resulting in severe diarrhoea with the presence of blood and mucus in the faeces.

Description

Diarrhea is the condition of having at least three loose or liquid bowel movements each day.

Dysentery is a severe infection of the intestines usually caused by a bacterial infection such as salmonella, shigella, campylobacter or e coli.

Symptoms

Bloating in the belly

Cramps

Thin or loose stools

Watery stools

An urgent feeling to have a bowel movement

Nausea and throwing up

Diarrhea

Blood in Stool

Mucus or pus in Stool

Fever

Abdominal pain

Cramps and bloating

Flatulence

Urgency to pass stool

Feeling of incomplete Emptying

Loss of appetite

Weight loss

Headache

Fatigue

Vomiting

Dehydration

Serious Symptoms

Blood or mucus in the stool

Weight loss

Fever

Nausea

Severe pain in the abdomen or rectum

Diarrhea after coming back from a foreign country

Dark urine

Smaller than usual amounts of urine or fewer wet diapers than usual in a child

Rapid heart rate

Headaches

Dry skin

Irritability

Confusion

Feeling weak

Nausea

Weightloss

Delirium

Convulsions

Coma

Causes

A viral infection

Alcohol abuse

Allergies to certain foods

Diabetes

Diseases of the intestines

Eating foods that upset the digestive system

Infection by bacteria or other organisms

Laxative abuse

Medications

Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)

Radiation therapy

Running

Some cancers

Surgery on the digestive system

Trouble absorbing certain nutrients, also called “malabsorption”

Bacterial infection

Viral infection

Parasitic worms

Protozoa

Affects

The stomach or intestines.

The intestines, especially the colon.

Treatment

Home Remedies

Over the Counter medicine

Oral rehydration solution (ORS)

Antibiotics

Home Remedies if mild

Over the Counter medicine if mild

Oral rehydration solution (ORS)

Antibiotics

Amoebicidal drugs

Reference: Oxford Dictionaries (Diarrhea and Dysentery), Wikipedia (Diarrhea and Dysentery),
WebMD, Medical News Today (Diarrhea and Dysentery), MedBroadcast
Image Courtesy: qsota.com, slideplayer.com

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