Enteritis refers to swelling and irritation of the small intestine. This part of the intestine connects the colon or large intestine to the stomach and is split into three sections, called the duodenum, jejunum and ileum. Enteritis may occur in any or all of the sections and is most frequently caused by bacterial or viral illness. Presence of long-term enteritis that is not infectious is called chronic enteritis, and may result from conditions affecting the intestinal tract like Crohn’s or celiac disease.
Enteritis is initially suspected when a person experiences discomfort in the abdomen, diarrhea, and bloating of the abdomen due to excess accumulation of gas. Occasionally, bowel movements are black signifying internal bleeding. This fourth symptom, called hematochezia, may be misdiagnosed if one is taking medications like Pepto Bismol® which naturally dyes the stools black for several days
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