Definition of Enteritis

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, which may lead to , cramping, , , and .


The symptoms may begin hours to days after you become infected. Symptoms may include:

Signs and tests

A stool culture may be done to determine the specific type of infection, however, this test may not always identify the bacteria causing the illness.


Mild cases usually need no treatment.

Expectations (prognosis)

Symptoms usually go away without treatment in a few days.


Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; George F Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 4/12/2010

Salmonella typhi organism
Yersinia enterocolitica organism
Campylobacter jejuni organism
Clostridium difficile organism
Digestive system
Esophagus and stomach anatomy

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