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Step 4: Read and complete the decision guide to learn more about your symptoms.

Diarrhea

You may have an infection with the bacteria "clostridium difficile," a complication of antibiotic treatment. Because your diarrhea contains blood or pus, your symptom is named dysentery. Dysentery may be accompanied by abdominal pain or fever, and it requires urgent treatment. Contact your doctor to schedule an urgent appointment. Delay in treatment could 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.

In your case, because you have recently been treated with antibiotics, your doctor may consider infection with clostridium difficile bacteria to be likely. This infection can be confirmed with stool testing and requires treatment with a specific antibiotic that is active against this bacteria type.

Your stool sample can be tested for other infections that are a cause of dysentery, including salmonella, shigella, campylobacter, and aggressive strains of e. coli. These infections are not caused by antibiotic treatment. Instead, they result from food contamination.

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 people who live in crowded institutions where hygiene is not optimal, or by individuals who engage in sexual practices that include mouth to anus contact.


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