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All About Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Dr. Shilpa Nayak 88% (43 ratings)
DAA, Diploma in Child Health (DCH), MBBS, DMRD
Pediatrician, Mumbai  •  13 years experience
All About Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Necrotizing enterocolitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the tissues present in the intestines and results in damaged tissues. It initially affects the inner lining which ultimately results in thickening of the intestine. It may also lead to a hole in the abdomen resulting in bacteria entering the intestine, thus resulting in infection.

Symptoms:
The symptoms of Necrotizing enterocolitis are:

  1. You may experience symptoms of bloating in the abdomen
  2. The abdomen may be discolored
  3. You may experience diarrhea and vomiting
  4. You may not feel hungry
  5. There may be presence of blood in your stool
  6. You may have a fever and constantly feel lethargic

Causes: Lack of blood and oxygen in the intestine causes it to become weak and increases the chances of Necrotizing enterocolitis. It may result if oxygen levels drop during a difficult delivery. If the intestines are weak, then they are at a higher risk of getting infected by bacteria. If you have an excessive supply of blood cells in your body or other stomach condition, then it may lead to this disease.

Diagnosis: Usually the doctor conducts a physical exam to detect the symptoms of this disease. If babies are born with this condition, then they may suffer from weak immune system and problems in blood circulation. The doctor may also recommend x-rays to get detailed images of the intestine in order to probe for symptoms of inflammation and damage.

Treatment: 
The treatment of the disease depends on few factors such as:

  1. The child's age
  2. How far has the disease progressed?
  3. Health of your child

It is recommended to stop breastfeeding. Feed the baby through intravenous methods. The doctor may also recommend antibiotics and oxygen support if the child has breathing problems. In severe cases, the child may require surgery to treat this disease.

If the treatment occurs early, then the child may recover. However, complications such as a narrow and damaged bowel may persist. This may cause problems in nutrient absorption in the intestine leading to other disorders.

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