Enteritis: Overview

Enteritis means inflammation of the intestinal tract, especially of the small intestine.  Serious complications may occur, especially in infants and the elderly.

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Types of enteritis include:

Enterocolitis involves the colon as well as the small intestine, and gastroenteritis includes stomach inflammation.  Regional enteritis (ileitis, or Crohn's disease) is a chronic inflammation that, in its common form, is confined to the terminal portion of the ileum.

Causes and Development

Enteritis may be caused by irritants, poisons, viral or bacterial infections, or other unknown factors.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms are extremely variable but usually include continuous or intermittent diarrhea, which may be bloody, painful abdominal cramps.  Fever is also common.

Diagnosis and Tests

The following laboratory tests are useful in diagnosing Campylobacter Enteritis; Antibiotic-Associated Pseudomembranous Colitis; Shigellosis; Nontyphoidal Salmonellosis; Enterocolitis; Paratyphoid fever; Bacteremia:

  • Smear of stool to check for fecal leukocytes, gross or occult blood, macrophages, mucus
  • Culture from stool, rectal swap, sigmoidoscopic swab or bloodstream
  • Phase-contrast microscopy of stool

Treatment and Prevention

Treatment for all forms of enteritis is generally focused on relief of symptoms, with anti-inflammatory agents playing an important role.


Liver involvement (diagnosed through increased serum LDH (especially LDH), alkaline phosphatase, SGOT (AST); Intestinal ulceration (blood in stool during second to third week); Relapse (positive blood culture).

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Signs, symptoms & indicators of Enteritis:

Symptoms - Gas-Int - General

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