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Enteritis means inflammation of the stomach or the small intestine. The infection usually occurs from consuming unhygienic food or water, resulting in immense pain in stomach and loose motions.  We shall explain you in details in the following content.

Causes of enteritis

Basically there are two types of enteritis:

  • Gastrointestinal enteritis-  is most commonly caused by eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with bacteria and virus. It is commonly called food poisoning. Once the microorganism is ingested it infects the stomach and small intestine. Examples of such microorganisms are Salmonella, E coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Campylobacter jejuni.
  • Radiation enteritis-  Radiation therapy induced damage and infection to small intestine

Other causes of enteritis are:

  • Autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease
  • Long term effects of taking illicit drugs like cocaine
  • Side effects of medicines- ibuprofen and naproxen sodium

Symptoms of enteritis

  • Intense pain and cramping in stomach
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Low grade fever (sometimes)
  • Loose motions and diarrhoea

In case of radiation enteritis, patients experience rectal bleeding, rectal pain along with mucous discharge from rectum.

When to see doctor?

You must see doctor if the aforementioned symptoms do not disappear within 2 days or if you have fever as well.

Complications of enteritis

Complications of bacterial enteritis include sepsis, hypokalemia, colitis, and dehydration.  Radiation enteritis might induce damage to bowel and rectum.

Diagnosis of enteritis

You need to tell your doctor the foods you have eaten or drinks your have consumed that might have caused stomach infection. Your doctor will ask you questions regarding the symptom and feel your stomach manually. Let your doctor know if you are taking any medicines or undergoing radiation treatment.

You have to undergo stool test through which the type of infection can be detected. If the infection is serious then CT scan, MRI and endoscopy of the intestine might be recommended.

Treatment of enteritis

In mild cases you might not require treatment. If you are encountering loose motions then your doctor would start rehydration treatment that involves intake of electrolyte water. You might also be retained in the hospital with IV drip lines.

Antibiotics are prescribed for a certain time in case of bacterial infection.

In case of radiation induced enteritis, your doctor will evaluate your history of treatment and the extent of damage and then decide the treatment.

Home remedies for enteritis

  • Stop eating outside foods, from street vendors and meals prepared under unhygienic conditions
  • Give rest to your stomach- Eat home cooked food preferably boiled and cooked with minimum oil, sans spices, sauces, creams and condiments.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Try to have probiotics once a day.
  • If you have loose motions then consider having rice and avoid too much fibre unless your bowels are normalized
  • Make sure you drink water that has been filtered and boiled properly. Carry your own water while travelling
  • Properly wash the fruits, vegetables or any other edible items before cooking or eating
  • Make sure you wash your hands with antiseptic lotion before eating or touching food
  • Avoid eating canned and bottled foods. Make sure you cook your food above 150- 165 degree F or more, especially meat items

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: December 11, 2014