Enteritis: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

What is Enteritis?

Enteritis is inflammation of the small intestine. There are basically two major types of enteritis. Infectious enteritis is caused by bacteria or viruses, while radiation enteritis occurs as a result of radiation therapy.

In some cases, inflammation may also affect the stomach or colitis, which involves inflammation of the large intestine.

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Symptoms of Enteritis

Symptoms of enteritis include:

Enteritis may not always require treatment. Mild cases and most viral infections go away on their own within a few days.

Types of Enteritis

There are several types of enteritis, and they each have different causes:

Infectious enteritis

Infectious enteritis are caused by bacteria and viruses. Bacterial enteritis can be caused by drinking or eating contaminated food or water which can be caused by improper handling of food, improper cooking, poor hygiene, and poultry/meat processing.

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According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), bacteria that commonly cause food poisoning include:

  • salmonella
  • shigelia
  • campylobacter jejuni( jejuni)
  • bacillus cereus
  • escherichia coli( coli)
  • staphylococcus aureus( aureus)

Food sources that cause food poisoning include:

  • raw shellfish
  • raw fresh produce
  • raw poultry and meat
  • unpasteurized milk
  • underdone meat and eggs

Viral enteritis also occurs through consuming contaminated food or water, and after contact with someone who has the virus.

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Viral enteritis usually goes away within a few days. A bacterial infection may require medical attention if it lasts for an extended period.

Radiation enteritis

This type of enteritis may be caused by radiation therapy. Apart from cancer cells, radiation kills healthy cells too. Radiation can lead to inflammation that may last for several weeks after treatment.

Complications of enteritis

One of the latent complication of enteritis is dehydration. It may cause kidney problems, urinary problems, and heart problems too. When someone has enteritis, it is essential to drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration.

Treatment for Enteritis

Proper hydration is vital. People can take electrolyte solutions for dehydration. Some people may require intravenous fluids in severe cases. The most severe cases usually result from a bacterial infection and may require medication or hospitalization. In severe bowel damages, surgery may be required.


There are several tips to help prevent food poisoning and enteritis. These include:

  • Wash hands properly before eating, before preparing meals, after using the bathroom, and after preparing meals.
  • Avoid drinking water from outdoor wells and other unsafe water sources
  • Ensure you clean kitchen surfaces, utensils, and cooking devices carefully
  • All foods should be cooked at a correct and safe temperature according to the recipe
  • Avoid undercooking chicken, fish, and eggs
  • Confirm expiration dates and dispose of any expired items
  • Drink properly sealed bottled water
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol use

Disclaimer: The content provided on healthdiary365.com is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical doctor or healthcare professional.


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