What is Enteritis?

Enteritis is an inflammation of the small intestine that typically occurs after ingesting contaminated food or water. It can also be caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Enteritis can cause abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and low-grade fever. In some cases, a decrease in appetite and weight loss can accompany enteritis. Treatment usually involves drinking plenty of fluids to replace what is lost due to diarrhea, and taking medications to manage symptoms like fever and pain.

Symptoms of Enteritis

Symptoms of enteritis are usually a result of inflammation and can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Diarrhea, which can be bloody
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Low-grade fever
  • Loss of appetite

Causes of Enteritis

The most common cause of enteritis is contamination of food or water, which can result in a bacterial, parasitic, or viral infection. The most common of these are Salmonella, E. coli, norovirus, adenoviruses, rotavirus, and Shigella.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Enteritis

To diagnose enteritis, your doctor will take a medical history and ask about previous illnesses, and may also order blood tests to check for infection. Imaging tests such as an abdominal ultrasound or CT scan may also be requested.

Treatment of enteritis typically involves replacing fluids lost due to diarrhea, which may require intravenous fluids. Anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics may also be prescribed to manage nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Over the counter medications such as Pepto-Bismol can also be used to treat enteritis, but be sure to check with your doctor first before taking any new medication.