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Encyclopedia > Enteritis

Enteritis is the inflammation of the small intestine (inflammation of the large intestine is termed colitis).

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, abdominal distension and hematochezia.

If there is vomiting, gastroenteritis is the more correct diagnosis.


Generally a good history is the most important tool in distinguishing serious cases of enteritis from self-limiting ones. The presence of blood in the faeces, dehydration, cutaneous eruptions, presumed link with food exposure, as well as recent travel to endemic areas can prompt further investigation.

Acute enteritis is usually due to bacteria or viruses. When food is involved, foodborne illness is to be suspected. If other family members or members of the household are affected, this may signify infectious causes.

Chronic enteritis can be due to Crohn's disease, giardiasis, tuberculosis, celiac disease, or rarely due to Whipple's disease.


Viral diarrhea is usually self-limiting and is treated with rehydration. When bacterial causes are suspected (recent travel, food poisoning), antibiotics can be considered.

Chronic enteritides are treated according to the diagnosis (please refer to individual articles).

  Results from FactBites:
Diagnose-Me: Condition: Enteritis (506 words)
Enteritis means inflammation of the intestinal tract, especially of the small intestine.
Enteritis may be caused by irritants, poisons, viral or bacterial infections, or other unknown factors.
Regional enteritis (ileitis, or Crohn disease) is a chronic inflammation that, in its common form, is confined to the terminal portion of the ileum.
Enteritis Information on Healthline (746 words)
Enteritis is an inflammation of the intestine; the term applies chiefly to the small intestine.
In the context of cancer, enteritis is a functional disorder of the large and small bowel that occurs as a result of radiation therapy applied to the abdomen, pelvis, or rectum.
Radiation enteritis occurs because the large and small intestines are sensitive to all forms of ionizing radiation.
  More results at FactBites »



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