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Necrotizing Enterocolitis is a medical condition that is commonly seen in premature infants. In infants with Necrotizing Enterocolitis, portions of the bowel may undergo necrosis or tissue death. It is a serious condition that often results in death. It occurs when the inner lining of the intestine is damaged and begins to die. Symptoms are:
• Bloating or swelling of abdomen
• Bloody stools or diarrhea
• Discoloration of abdomen
• Poor feeding
HOW IS NECROTIZING ENTEROCOLITIS DIAGNOSED?
Pediatricians diagnose Necrotizing Enterocolitis in the infant based on symptoms and physical examination. The abdomen area is gently pressed to check for pain, bloating and tenderness. An abdominal X-ray is performed to get detailed images of intestine. The stool guaiac test is performed to look for blood.
HOW IS NECROTIZING ENTEROCOLITIS TREATED?
Treatment is based on the severity of the issue and the overall health of the baby. The doctor may ask you to stop breastfeeding the baby and the baby will be given fluids and nutrients intravenously. Antibiotics will be administered to fight the infection. Surgery is recommended in severe cases of NEC.
DID YOU KNOW?
Babies at higher risk for the condition include:
• Premature infants
• Infants who are fed formula rather than human milk. (Human milk contains growth factors, antibodies and immune cells which may help prevent the problem.)
• Infants in a nursery where an outbreak has occurred
• Infants who have received blood exchange transfusions or have been seriously ill