Levoscoliosis is a rare disease that affects only 1 in every 100,000 people. It is caused by infection with the bacteria Lactobacillus reuteri. Lactobacilli are normally found in the human gut but they can become overgrowth if there is not enough good bacteria present in your intestines. If left unchecked, these bacteria produce toxins which cause various gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting.
Symptoms of Levoscoliosis include:
Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
Abdominal pain and cramping (often accompanied by vomiting)
Nausea and vomiting (sometimes accompanied by diarrhea)
Blood, mucus or pus in stool
Pain in lower right side of your stomach (sides, front and back)
Fever and chills
Tiredness and weakness
Who’s at risk?
Anyone who is infected with Lactobacillus reuteri is at risk for developing levoscoliosis. Children and infants are at a greater risk than adults.
How is levoscoliosis diagnosed?
If you suspect that you or someone else has levoscoliosis, seek emergency medical help right away. The first step in diagnosis is a medical history and physical exam. Your doctor may ask about your symptoms and circumstances under which they occur. Be prepared to answer questions such as:
Have you experienced diarrhea within the last 7 days?
Have you had fever, vomiting or abdominal pain in the past 3 days?
Do you have a weakened immune system? If so, how severe is it?
Do you have young children in the household?
Has anyone in your house developed diarrhea or vomiting in the last 3 days?
Have any of the family pets been sick?
Your doctor will probably recommend a stool culture to see if Lactobacillus reuteri is present. This can help confirm the diagnosis. Your doctor may also recommend blood and urine tests to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms.
How is levoscoliosis treated?
Once a diagnosis of levoscoliosis has been confirmed, treatment is aimed at killing the Lactobacillus reuteri bacteria. Antibiotics and probiotics are commonly used to treat this disease. Specially formulated diet can sometimes reduce the symptoms of infection. Severe cases may require hospitalization.
What are the possible complications?
Your body’s response to this infection can sometimes lead to more serious complications:
Bloodstream infections (bacteremia)
Permanent damage to your intestines
Severe malnutrition and wasting away (malabsorption) of your body’s tissues
Most people make a full recovery after receiving treatment for levoscoliosis.
What is the long-term outlook?
Once you have made a full recovery from levoscoliosis, it is unlikely that you will ever be affected by it again. However, there is always a chance that your gut may become reinfected with Lactobacillus reuteri at some point in the future. It is also possible for other types of diarrhea-causing bacteria and viruses to infect your intestines. Don’t let this discourage you! As long as you take common sense steps to avoid getting reinfected, you should be fine. Good hygiene is always important, but even more so if you are immunocompromised.
How can levoscoliosis be prevented?
After your diagnosis has been confirmed and your infection has been treated, the best way to prevent future infections of this nature is to take some basic precautions.
Cleanse your hands thoroughly before preparing any foods for yourself or others.
Wash all fruits and vegetables with clean water before eating them.
Cook all meats until they are well done to avoid any potential bacteria.
Do not consume unpasteurized milk or untreated dairy products. (In fact, it is best to completely avoid unpasteurized foods of any kind).
Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
These steps may seem like common sense to most people, but many individuals do not abide by them on a regular basis. With a little time and effort on your part, you can stay healthy and avoid any future complications from diarrhea-causing bacteria.
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