Enteritis is inflammation of the small intestine.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Enteritis is usually caused by eating or drinking substances that are contaminated with bacteria or viruses. The germs settle in the small intestine and cause inflammation and swelling.
Enteritis may also be caused by:
An autoimmune condition such as
Certain drugs, including ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and cocaine
Damage from radiation therapy
The inflammation can also involve the stomach (
Risk factors include recent family illness with intestinal symptoms, recent travel, or exposure to untreated or contaminated water.
Types of enteritis include:
E. coli enteritis
Food poisoning Radiation enteritis Salmonella enteritis Shigella enteritis
- Staph aureus food poisoning
The symptoms may begin hours to days after you become infected. Symptoms may include:
Diarrhea – acute and severe
- Loss of appetite
Signs and tests
Mild cases usually do not need treatment.
Antidiarrheal medication may not be recommended because it can slow the germ from leaving the digestive tract.
Persons with diarrhea (especially young children) who are unable to drink fluids because of nausea may need medical care and fluids through a vein (
If you take diuretics and develop diarrhea, you may need to stop taking the diuretic. However, do not stop taking any medicine unless directed by your health care provider.
Symptoms usually go away without treatment in a few days.
- Prolonged diarrhea
Note: The diarrhea can cause rapid and extreme dehydration in babies.
Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:
Diarrhea does not go away in 3 to 4 days
You have a fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit
There is blood in the stools
- Always wash your hands after using the toilet and before eating or preparing food or drinks. You may also clean your hands with a 60% alcohol-based product.
- Avoid drinking from unknown sources, such as streams and outdoor wells, without boiling the water first.
- Use only clean utensils for eating or handling foods, especially when handling eggs and poultry.
- Cook food completely and properly.
- Store food appropriately in coolers.