Inflammation of the intestines can occur in many cases. It can be acute or chronic , affect different parts of the intestines and have many origins . It is important to know how to recognize them to avoid the risk of complications.
What is inflammation of the intestines?
Inflammation of the intestines is a reaction of the immune system in the intestinal wall. It is caused by an overactive immune system. Depending on its origin and its evolution, it can be considered as:
- acute inflammation of the intestines , when sudden and transient;
- Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) , when intestinal inflammation persists.
Where does intestinal inflammation develop?
Intestinal inflammation can be very localized or affects several structures of the intestines:
- Small intestine : It follows the stomach and includes 3 structures: duodenum, jejunum and ileum.
- Large intestine : Also called colon, it follows the small intestine. The first part of the large intestine corresponds to the cecum , at the level of which is attached the appendix. The colon opens on therectum .
What are the different types of inflammations of the intestines?
Inflammation of the intestines can be very localized. Depending on the affected area in the intestines, we can distinguish:
- enteritis, inflammation of the small intestine;
- duodenitis, an inflammation of the duodenum;
- ileitis, an inflammation of the ileum;
- jejunite, an inflammation of the jejunum.
- typhlitis , which is an inflammation of the caecum;
- the appendicitis , which is an inflammation of the appendix.
- colitis , which is an inflammation of the colon.
In some cases, inflammation can affect multiple areas of the body at the same time. This is particularly the case of:
- enterocolitis , inflammation of the small intestine and colon;
- the gastro-enteritis , inflammation of the stomach and the small intestine;
- the ulcerative colitis , also known as ulcerative colitis, chronic inflammatory bowel disease that specifically affects the colon and rectum;
- the Crohn’s disease , chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the entire intestine and may extend to other parts of the body such as the oral cavity, rectum and anal canal.
What are the causes of intestinal inflammation?
Acute inflammation of the intestines is often due to an infection . This may be of viral, bacterial or parasitic origin. This is particularly the case of gastroenteritis, which is usually caused by a viral infection.
The causes of chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are less well known. Several parameters could be involved. Based on current scientific evidence, there is a genetic predisposition to some IBD such as ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease could be due to a set of risk factors including poor eating habits, smoking, pollution, consumption of contaminated food, …
Who is concerned ?
Inflammation of the intestines can occur at any age . It appears, however, that there are more cases of chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in people between 20 and 40 years of age . Crohn’s disease is more often diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 30, while ulcerative colitis is mainly diagnosed in adults between 30 and 40 years of age.
What is the risk of complication?
In some cases, inflammation of the intestines can be complicated. It can extend and affect other areas of the body . Adequate medical treatment is necessary to limit the risk of complications. Adequate medical follow-up is also essential in cases of chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In the absence of adequate management, these diseases can have serious consequences in the long term.
What are the symptoms of an inflammation of the intestines?
Depending on the origin, severity and evolution of the inflammation, this can be manifested by various symptoms such as:
- abdominal pain ;
- a feeling of heaviness in the belly;
- digestive disorders ;
- diarrhea that can sometimes be accompanied by traces of blood;
- the formation of an anal fissure or abscess in the anal region.
How to treat inflammation of the intestines?
The treatment depends primarily on the cause of the cause of inflammation of the intestines.
Complementary examinations may be performed to further or confirm a diagnosis. Depending on the diagnosis, different treatments can be put in place. Certain drugs, such as antibiotics, immunosuppressants, antidiarrheals and antispasmodics, may in particular be prescribed.
In cases of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, regular medical monitoring is essential to limit the risk of complications.
How to prevent inflammation of the intestines?
Some intestinal inflammations can be avoided by limiting the risk factors. It is important to adopt a healthy lifestyle and good eating habits.