Step 4: Read and complete the decision guide to learn more about your symptoms.
Because your diarrhea contains blood or pus, your symptom is named dysentery. Dysentery may be accompanied by abdominal pain or fever, and it is usually caused by a bacterial infection that requires urgent treatment. Contact your doctor to schedule an urgent appointment. Delay in treatment can put you at risk for complications, such as colon rupture or abscess formation.
Your doctor is likely to request a stool sample when you arrive, so it may be useful for you to collect a sample at home that could be used for testing. Stool can be examined by a medical laboratory to see if it contains inflammatory cells (fecal leukocytes) that are evidence of pus in the stool. Chemical tests can confirm the presence of blood in the stool.
Your stool sample can also be tested for specific infections that are a cause of dysentery, including salmonella, shigella, campylobacter, and aggressive strains of e. coli.
If you have traveled recently you may have a parasite infection as the cause of your dysentery, amebiasis. Infection with amoebas can also be acquired by living in a crowded institution where hygiene is not optimal, or by having a sexual encounter that includes mouth to anus contact.
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