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Traveler’s Diarrhea, Turista, Tijuana Trots

Patients who travel outside the United States, particularly to Mexico or to third world countries, are very prone to develop traveler’s diarrhea. This is often caused by a microorganism called E. coli. All of us in the United States have E. coli in our intestinal tract. However, the type of E. coli we have differs from that of people who live in other countries. It is not unusual to develop diarrhea when traveling abroad. If you are going to be traveling for a short time, medications are available that can significantly reduce your chances of developing this problem, and you should discuss this with your doctor before you leave. The symptoms frequently experienced are intense abdominal cramps, sometimes with fever, and watery diarrhea.

Historically, the small bowel has been a difficult place to visit. Conventional endoscopes such as the upper endoscope and the colonoscope could at best only view a very small portion of the small bowel. In the past, the only effective way to reach the small bowel was via operative endoscopy, in which the patient underwent a formal open surgical procedure of their abdomen, and then a scope was advanced through the small bowel with the aid of the surgeons hands, as the endoscopist visualized the small bowel. Today, we have two new ways to look at the bowel in less invasive ways, Capsule Endoscopy and Double Balloon Enteroscopy.