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Basic Symptoms and Causes Of Ileitis
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Basic Symptons and Causes Of Ileitis

Ileitis

Author: Edward F. Group III, D.C., Ph.D, N.D.,CCN  

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DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Diseases & Conditions  

Ileitis is a chronic inflammation of the lower, or terminal, portion of the small intestine, known as the ileum.  

Small intestine:  

The smaller intestine is where most nutrients are absorbed.  The small intestine receives food after the stomach, extracts various nutrients, and then passes the food to the large intestine. The connecting region between the stomach and small intestine is called the duodenum. Food in the small intestine is called chyme, and is processed by pancreatic enzymes (from the pancreas) and by bile produced by the liver. Folds in the small intestine and small projections called villi are used to absorb nutrients. The small intestine does almost all nutrient absorption, performing processing of sugars, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, whereas the large intestine mainly absorbs water and salts from the remaining contents.  

Ileitis can affect persons of both sexes and of all ages; however, the disease most commonly strikes those between age 20 and 50. Symptoms consist of a chronic or intermittent diarrhea, sometimes bloody, that is accompanied by painful abdominal cramps. Fever, weakness, weight loss, and anemia may also occur and can produce a progressive physical deterioration.  

A specific and more serious type of inflammation involving both the small and large intestines is known as regional ileitis, or Crohn’s disease.

Crohn's disease:

Crohn's disease causes inflammation in the small intestine. Crohn's disease usually occurs in the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum, but it can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. The inflammation extends deep into the lining of the affected organ. The inflammation can cause pain and can make the intestines empty frequently, resulting in diarrhea.

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the general name for diseases that cause inflammation in the intestines. 1 

The initial attack of ileitis may be so sudden that it is confused with appendicitis. A patient may completely recover from an initial attack of simple ileitis, but the usual course of Crohns disease is one of gradual progression, with periods of remission and relapse continuing for many years. 

Crohn’s disease results in thickening of the intestine, narrowing of its channel, and ulceration of its lining. Diagnosis of the disease is established through X-ray examination of the small (and perhaps large) intestine, in which the narrowing and ulceration is evident.

Chronic digestive diseases

Any disorder causing ongoing chronic digestive complaints.

Conditions list: The list of conditions in the Chronic digestive diseases group includes:

Inflammatory bowel disease: Any type of digestive condition caused by bowel inflammation.

Inflammatory bowel disease: This medical term is used for both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, two diseases in which the immune system attacks the gut (intestine). Patients may have diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and pain that can be difficult to control. Illness in afflicted individuals can result from intestinal inflammation and from side effects of the drugs used for the disease.

Irritable bowel syndrome: Spasms in the colon wall

Irritable bowel syndrome: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of the intestines that leads to crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and changes in bowel habits. Some people with IBS have constipation (difficult or infrequent bowel movements); others have diarrhea (frequent loose stools, often with an urgent need to move the bowels); and some people experience both. Sometimes the person with IBS has a crampy urge to move the bowels but cannot do so.

Through the years, IBS has been called by many names--colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, spastic bowel, and functional bowel disease. Most of these terms are inaccurate. Colitis, for instance, means inflammation of the large intestine (colon). IBS, however, does not cause inflammation and should not be confused with another disorder, ulcerative colitis.

Celiac Disease: A genetic digestive intolerance to gluten in the diet caused by damage to the intestinal villi with an underlying autoimmune cause. Celiac is believed to be one of the most under-diagnosed and thus misdiagnosed conditions in America. Although the diagnosis rate is about 1 in 5000, the actual estimated prevalence may be as high as 1 in 250. Celiac disease is poorly understood by many American doctors, and may be misdiagnosed as various other digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Celiac Disease: Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley, and possibly oats. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the small intestine. Specifically, tiny fingerlike protrusions, called villi, on the lining of the small intestine are lost. Nutrients from food are absorbed into the bloodstream through these villi. Without villi, a person becomes malnourished--regardless of the quantity of food eaten.

Because the body's own immune system causes the damage, celiac disease is considered an autoimmune disorder. However, it is also classified as a disease of malabsorption because nutrients are not absorbed. Celiac disease is also known as celiac sprue, nontropical sprue, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy.

Complications of Ileitis are secondary conditions, symptoms, or other disorders that are caused by Ileitis. In many cases the distinction between symptoms of Ileitis and complications of Ileitis is unclear or arbitrary. 

A colonoscopy may also be performed to examine the large intestine. Simple ileitis can be caused by intestinal infections, irritations, or obstructions. Crohn’s disease is most likely due to abnormalities in the immune system. Several drugs are effective in treatment of Crohn’s disease, but many patients will require surgery either to correct complications such as obstruction or fistulas or to relieve symptoms that do not respond to medical treatment. 

To learn about effective treatment for this condition continue reading.

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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Last Modified : 03/15/08 12:05 AM