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enteritis (ĕnˌtərīˈtĭs), inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Acute enteritis is not usually serious except in infants and older people, in whom the accompanying diarrhea can cause dehydration through the loss of fluids. The condition known as regional enteritis or Crohn's disease is a chronic disease that occurs most frequently in young adults, producing a segmented thickening of the bowel wall and narrowing of the bowel opening (lumen). The lower portion of the small intestine is usually affected, but the infection can extend up to the esophagus and down into the colon. Clinical symptoms include mild, intermittent diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and fever. In prolonged cases there may be anemia and nutritional deficiency. The term enteritis is sometimes applied to the conditions of gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach commonly caused by food poisoning) and ulcerative colitis. Surgery may be necessary to treat severe complications such as abscesses and obstructions.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



inflammation of the small intestine. The three main types of enteritis in humans are duodenitis, jejunitis, and ileitis, which are distinguished by the site of inflammation. Quite often the inflammation may extend to the stomach (gastroenteritis), colon (enterocolitis), or both (gastroenterocolitis).

Acute enteritis occurs in infectious diseases, such as typhoid, paratyphoid, and cholera and as a result of food poisonings and food allergies. It is associated with inflammatory swelling and hyperemia of the small intestine’s mucosa and an increase in its secretion. Hemorrhages and ulcerations develop in severe cases. Sudden pain is felt, chiefly in the middle of the abdomen, and there often is vomiting, diarrhea, and elevated temperature.

In severe cases, symptoms of systemic intoxication, cardiovascular disorders, and dehydration are pronounced, and convulsions may occur. In mild cases, patients recover within a few days or weeks. Patients are treated in a hospital or outpatient clinic, depending on the cause and severity of the inflammation. Salt laxatives, enemas, sulfanilamides, antibiotics, antispasmodics, astringents and other agents are prescribed. It is recommended that large amounts of strong unsweetened tea be drunk. The diet is gradually varied as the patient’s condition improves.

Chronic enteritis may be caused by poor eating habits, for example, an unhealthy diet or the excessive consumption of spicy foods and strong alcoholic beverages. It also occurs as a result of helminthiases, lambliasis, geotrichosis, and chronic intoxication by lead compounds and other industrial poisons. The condition may arise from prolonged and uncontrolled use of drugs, such as salt laxatives or broad-spectrum antibiotics, and from certain congenital diseases characterized by inadequate synthesis of certain enzymes in the intestine. The mucous membrane gradually atrophies, its villi are smoothed, the production of intestinal enzymes decreases, and absorption is impaired. Patients suffer from rumbling in the abdomen, dull pain in the umbilical region, nausea, and weakness; diarrhea occurs, mainly in enterocolitis. Poor absorption in the intestine may give rise to a variety of nutritional disorders.

The diagnosis of enteritis is helped by, among other things, analysis of stools and cavitary and parietal digestion. Treatment includes proper diet and multiple vitamins, astringents and digestive enzyme preparations for diarrhea, antispasmodics for pain, and physical therapy. Hospital treatment is essential in case the condition becomes worse. At other times treatment in a sanatorium or health resort is indicated, for example, at Essentuki or Zheleznovodsk.


Beiul, E. A., and N. I. Ekisenina. Khronicheskie enterity i kolity. Moscow, 1975.
Bolezni organovpishchevareniia, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1975.
Gubergrits, A. Ia., and Iu. V. Linevskii. Bolezni tonkoi kishki. Moscow, 1975.
Enteritis occurs only rarely by itself among animals. It usually takes the form of gastroenteritis, gastroenterocolitis, or enterocolitis. It is caused when the animal consumes poor-quality feed, for example, feed with an excessive amount of hard-to-digest matter. It also occurs in poisonings and infectious diseases, such as cattle plague.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Inflammation of the intestinal tract.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


inflammation of the small intestine
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
In further differential diagnosis of CMUSE, other small intestinal diseases must be excluded, too, especially NSAIDs-induced enteropathy [2, 3, 18, 46-50], tuberculosis and other chronic infections of the small bowel [18, 33, 51], Behcet disease [52-54], drug-induced small intestinal injury (thiazides, potassium chloride) [2], and malignancies [3].
It is also obligatory to distinguish CMUSE from other nonfrequent pathological conditions.
[65] reported that they had induced remission in CMUSE by anti-TNF-alpha therapy (using infliximab).
In conclusion, CMUSE, although a rare condition affecting the small bowel, should always be considered when chronic or relapsing subileus episodes result from multiple small intestinal strictures, and multiple shallow ulcers of the small bowel are found (in the absence of Crohn's disease, NSAID use, or chronic small intestinal infection).