Enterocolitis is characterized by inflammation of the intestinal mucosa. There are several types of enterocolitis and they are considered some of the most common digestive disorders in children and babies. They are unpleasant, uncomfortable and irritating to little ones. Learn how to recognize them and what to do!
Enterocolitis is a condition that affects and inflammates both intestines: the small and the large. When inflammation occurs in the small intestine it is called enteritis and when it occurs in the large intestine it is called colitis.
What are the causes of enterocolitis?
Bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites are the basis of this infectious inflammation. Infectious enterocolitis are the most common of all types and are mainly caused by:
- E. coli;
- Norwalk virus;
- Candida etc.
These conditions are not only caused by microbial agents. In some cases, allergies or intolerances or excessive use of antibiotics can trigger enterocolitis. There are also some risk factors for the onset of inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract:
- intestinal diseases (Crohn's disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome);
- food mistakes (administration of only one type of food for a prolonged period, abuse of certain irritating foods for the intestines, hasty eating and incomplete chewing);
- exposure to certain toxic substances (especially by accidental ingestion);
- drug abuse;
- decrease in the amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, etc.
The types of entocolitis are divided into two broad categories: depending on the duration (acute and chronic) and according to the cause that determines it, as follows:
- infectious enterocolitis (bacterium, virus, parasite - the source of contamination is the consumption of infested foods or the direct contact with another patient);
- bacterial enterocolitis (live bacteria);
- viral enterocolitis (retroviruses - this greatly affects children);
- parasitic enterocolitis (parasites, but also their association with bacteria).
What are the symptoms?
The disease can start suddenly, and the most obvious symptom is abdominal pain or extremely strong cramps. In most young children and infants, a frequent indication is acute diarrhea, but constipation may also occur. Other common symptoms include:
- weight loss;
- Lack of appetite.
Among the rarer manifestations of enterocolitis are:
- lethargy, apathy;
- face pallor;
- palpitations etc.
How is enterocolitis treated in children?
Depending on the severity of the disease, it may require hospitalization or outpatient treatment. Doctors aim primarily to reduce inflammation of the intestinal mucosa. The child is then tested to identify the underlying cause of enterocolitis. Depending on this, an appropriate treatment scheme is established.
There is no general treatment available, because in bacterial enterocolitis those that work are antibiotics, but if those that cause the disease are viruses they are useless. Although the baby is not allowed to consume food or liquids within the first few hours after the onset of the disease or the onset of symptoms, physicians will resort to artificial measures of hydration and stabilization of the level of electrolytes in the body. This is especially important if the baby is suffering from severe acute diarrhea. Hydration can be done by administering an infusion.
Most cases of enterocolitis can be treated at home, but only after a prior medical check-up. The specialist will indicate to you a series of clear measures that you must follow with the child while he is in recovery.
- prolonged rest and rest in bed;
- warm compresses on the abdomen to relieve severe abdominal cramps;
- avoiding the consumption of liquids during the meal;
- tables often and in small quantities;
- strict diet: vegetable soups, cow's cheese, boiled rice, cooked vegetables, etc .;
- encourages the child to chew the food as well as possible before swallowing it;
- avoiding irritant foods for the stomach and intestinal mucosa (preserves, fries, sweets, spices, animal fats, etc.).
Tags Enterocolitis for children Enterocolitis Acute diarrhea for children Digestive disorders for children