Enterocolitis: symptoms and treatment

Inflammatory processes occurring in the intestinal mucosa are a serious disease of the digestive tract, which is referred to as enterocolitis. Inflammation can affect both the small intestine (enteritis) and the thick (colitis), and then, if no medical measures are taken, the whole shell of the intestine is also affected. The most common enterocolitis in children, but adults also know the symptoms of this ailment, which in the people is called «indigestion.»


There are two types of this disease:

  • Acute.
  • Chronic.

Acute enterocolitis is characterized by manifestation on the intestinal mucosa, without affecting the deep tissues. Often the symptoms of this kind of ailment are manifested along with acute gastritis. Sharp acute enterocolitis on the infectious and non-infectious.

Chronic enterocolitis is caused by the manifestation as a result of a prolonged course of an acute type of disease in the intestine. It can also be a consequence of a protracted treatment, which also develops into chronic enterocolitis.


Depending on the reasons that provoked active development of the disease in the human body, enterocolitis is classified:

  1. Bactericidal. It is caused by various infections, viruses and microorganisms that enter the intestines along with food (salmonellosis, dysentery).
  2. Toxic or drug. Due to damage to the mucosa by various types of chemically active media: drugs, chemicals, poisons.
  3. Secondary. Occurs in case of complication of diseases of other digestive organs.
  4. Parasitic. Development of intestinal parasites such as amoeba, trichomonas or helminths
  5. Alimensional. Occurs as a result of malnutrition.
  6. Mechanical. A consequence of various constipations.


The causes of the development of the disease in the intestinal mucosa are the effects of various microorganisms, such as streptococci, staphylococcus, salmonella, helminths, pathogenic E. coli and amoeba. If a similar infection with microorganisms occurs in the gallbladder and pancreas, untimely treatment entails not only exacerbation, but also the onset of the disease in the intestinal cavity. In women, the cause of the ailment is problems with the pelvic cavity.

If there is an incorrect intake of medications, from a group of antibiotic or laxatives, the consequence can cause an intestinal disorder, and after escalating into colitis. Also, the dosing of antibacterial drugs or their taking alone without the doctor’s control leads to a dysbacteriosis, after which it develops into a complication — dysbiosis. Dysbiosis in complex form develops into a pseudomembranous enterocolitis.

The appearance of the disease is also affected by an allergic reaction to food or medications that were used at leisure. Poisoning by various chemicals taken internally, as well as in the case of kidney and liver failure may be a consequence of the onset of the disease.

If a person does not comply with the regime of food intake, that is, an irregular reception, frequent starvation, large breaks between meals, nutrition without protein and vitamins, and the consumption of alcoholic or alcohol-containing beverages, all this leads to the appearance of an intestinal disease. If the performance of the digestive system, cardiovascular system or other organs is compromised, it can talk about the subsequent manifestation of colitis in the intestine.

But most often, almost 80% of all causes are the actions of parasitic microorganisms that enter the human body, and then the thick and small intestines.


Acute enterocolitis is manifested in the form of a sharp sensation of pain symptoms in the abdominal region. Pain in the abdomen is accompanied by signs of diarrhea, which have different types of manifestations. It can be the presence of blood or mucus in the feces, as well as purulent clots. Often a person can observe the disease of enterocolitis and its symptoms in the form of rapid gas formation, vomiting, followed by discharge of food eaten, as well as the appearance of sounds in the abdomen (rumbling).

If the disease is provoked by infection of the body, the person often notices a rise in body temperature to 39 degrees, there is weakness in the body, especially in the legs. A person at such times does not want anything, except for sleep, there are headaches, as well as weakness in the muscles of the hands and feet. Bloating (flatulence) occurs in the case of a lesion of the rectum and is a consequence of increased gas formation.

Chronic enterocolitis is characterized by the appearance of various pain syndromes. These pains can intensify and fade, especially often amplification is observed in the evening before bedtime. A man with aching pains does not get enough sleep, but in the morning the pain subsides. The intensity of the onset of pain symptoms depends on the location of the pathological trait. If in the large intestine, then the person has a sense of acute pain, which decreases after defecation. With the development of an ailment in the small intestine, painful symptoms of a prolonged nature, but of moderate significance, are typical.

If the process is characterized by the duration of the course, it is possible the appearance of constipation and even diarrhea with a «liquid stool.»

The body weight of a person starts to decrease sharply, therefore it is necessary to control weight by daily weighing, and at the first signs of an illness especially. The reasons for weight loss are clear: vomiting, frequent diarrhea, lack of desire to eat, etc.

Important! When the first signs of enterocolitis appear, you should not try to find out the accuracy of the diagnosis yourself and try to cure people’s means, such actions are fraught with exacerbation of the disease, and, therefore, complication of treatment of enterocolitis.

The signs of infectious enterocolitis are the simplest, but very similar to such serious ailments as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative-necrotic colitis. The last two diseases, with their incorrect or no treatment, can lead to disability of the person.

When poisoning with poor-quality food after two hours, a person has painful sensations before emptying the intestine, as well as during any physical exertion. Such painful feelings spread and contribute to frequent visits to the toilet. When emptying with hard feces, it is possible to complicate its output, accompanied by the appearance of cracks, and, as a result, hemorrhage.

Symptoms in children

Enterocolitis in children has slightly distinctive symptoms than adults. At the first sign of the disease, the child has, above all, dull pain in the lower abdomen, especially in the navel. The child at such a moment feels uncomfortable and becomes irritable. There are headaches, there may be dizziness with increased pain.

A few hours after eating, you want to visit the toilet, with diarrhea starting. The desire to visit the toilet becomes more and more frequent and with less time intervals, more than 6 times a day the child asks for a toilet. At the same time, mucus, foamed decay and undigested remains of food are found in the excreted feces.

On the first day, nausea, accompanied by vomiting. From the body all the food eaten first is isolated, and then vomiting with saliva or bile. There is bloating, accompanied by colic.

Enterocolitis in newborns occurs as a result of intrauterine infection. Also, the causes are birth trauma, prolonged labor, untimely breastfeeding, etc. Especially it is necessary to highlight the manifestation of necrotizing enterocolitis in newborns that were born earlier than planned, that is, prematurely. Chronic manifestation is often accompanied by alternation with acute form. At the same time the newborn child constantly cries, sometimes even screams.

Necrotizing enterocolitis in children and newborns, especially preterm infants, is manifested by the following symptoms:

  • prolonged constipation, alternating with diarrhea
  • an enlarged tummy, when pressed, the baby starts dodging or crying
  • a brief sleep, while the child wakes up crying and screaming.

In children, this disease has a pronounced symptomatology and is very easily diagnosed. If such symptoms are found, it is worthwhile to visit a doctor to examine the child for a possible disease.


The infectious form is the simplest form of the disease, which is also easily diagnosed. Suffice it to recall that on the eve of using a man with complaints of pain in the abdomen. Especially common are cases of infectious type in the summer, when absolutely any food product is prone to spoilage, and, therefore, the appearance of parasitic microorganisms in it.

In a hospital, a doctor will conduct a survey using a device such as a coprogram. It will also be necessary to pass the feces, and on the basis of these data the doctor will diagnose. In some cases, there are problems with diagnosis, especially often it is inherent in adults, so you can additionally be prescribed a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy. These devices will help in more detail to study the intestinal cavity and identify affected areas.

If the patient deepens in the examination, the doctor can take the tissue of the affected area to study the nature of the disease in more detail. On the analysis of blood, the disease is diagnosed by a violation of the lipid and protein balance. On the coprogram there will be remnants of food, proteins, fats and carbohydrates that are not digested. It is often possible to diagnose leukocyte accumulation.


Treatment of enterocolitis depends on the correct diagnosis of the disease. Infectious type is treated with the help of antibiotics. These include cephalosporins or sometimes the penicillin group of drugs. With frequent visits to the toilet and vomiting, you will need to increase the intake of water to avoid dehydration. It is necessary to drink: teas on herbs, compotes on dried fruits, but not fresh fruits. An effective way is to rinse the stomach, that is, enemas on the broths of the oak cortex or St. John’s Wort.

Pseudomembranous enterocolitis, in addition to the main treatment, is eliminated by taking drugs containing microorganisms that renew the intestinal microflora: colibacterin, Bifikol, and others.

Treatment of the disease necessarily provides for complexity. Important is and proper nutrition for acute disease. Correctly chosen diet with enterocolitis will optimize the digestive system and the intestines. Necessarily the food should be detailed in small parts.

For newborn babies, treatment is carried out in a hospital under the supervision of a doctor. At the same time, the most important thing is proper nutrition: breastfeeding in small portions, as well as artificial nutrition with prebiotics. In severe colic, the child is given Espumizana or Infacola.

The course of a chronic illness depends on the time of its diagnosis and the initiation of appropriate medical measures, so the earlier the disease is detected, the more likely to be cured without complications.