Shigella is a highly contagious type of bacteria that can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea (sometimes with blood) and fever. The bacteria are mainly transmitted through food, but you can also become infected with it during (anal) sex. In some cases, an infection can be very intense, but it usually goes away on its own. For up to a month after your symptoms have disappeared, you can still pass on the bacteria to others. That is why it is important to take precautions.

A highly contagious type of bacteria

Shigella is a highly contagious type of bacteria and can easily be passed on from person to person. Shigella bacteria live in the excrement (shit) of whoever is infected with it. Toilet seats, flush handles and other objects in bathrooms can carry the bacteria. During sex, transmission occurs through anal sex, including fingering, fucking and rimming (licking of the anus), and through the sharing of sex toys.

Symptoms of shigella

Once you have become infected with shigella, you could have the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • stomach cramps
  • diarrhea (very thin and sometimes with blood)

The symptoms generally appear one to three days after you become infected with the bacteria. They often disappear again after four days, but in severe cases the symptoms can last from 10 to 14 days.

Treatment of shigella

Getting rest and drinking plenty of liquids is usually enough to cure an infection with shigella. In the case of serious infections, antibiotics will be prescribed. After you have been ill with shigella, you can still carry the bacteria with you for weeks without having any symptoms. That means you can also still pass it on to others. Good hygiene is crucial. People who prepare food or work in healthcare may not work again until they are certain that they no longer carry the bacteria. Clean your sex toys thoroughly and don't share them with others. Make sure you also wash your hands often and carefully, especially after using the toilet.

Advice in case of diarrhea

Drinking enough liquids and ORS (oral rehydration salts) will ensure that you don't dry out from having diarrhea. ORS is a solution of salts and sugar (from grape juice) or starch in water. It will quickly replenish the missing sugar and salts in your body. You can buy ORS at a drugstore or pharmacy.

Consult a doctor if you show signs of dehydration. That is even more important if you have HIV or a weakened immune system. Consult your family doctor and mention that you may have contracted an intestinal infection through sex.

  • Review some basic hygienic measures:    
  • Wash your hands regularly. Always wash your hands with soap and warm water after you have used the toilet and before you touch any food.
  • Don't prepare food for anyone for an entire week after all your symptoms have disappeared.
  • Don't share towels or sex toys with others.
  • Keep the toilet, taps, handles and doorknobs well cleaned.

Less risk of shigella

To reduce the risk of getting or transmitting shigella during sex, keep the following in mind:

  • Since the skin on your ass checks, around your anus and your penis can carry the bacteria, take a shower before sex.
  • Wash your hands before (and during) sex. Especially if you rim (lick ass), finger, fuck, use sex toys or touch used condoms, it is important to wash your hands well both before and afterwards.
  • Use a condom when fucking. For rimming you can use a cut-open condom.
  • Don't share any sex toys.

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