Bowel inflammation


Overview digestive tract

Our Intestines forms the most important part of the digestive system. One distinguishes between Small intestine and Large intestine.

Right after the stomach follows the Small intestine, structured in Duodenum, as well as empty and ileum. The main tasks of this section of the intestine are digestion, Absorption of nutrients, minerals and water, as well as parts of the Immune defense.

At the Bauhin flap (Valvula ileocaecalis) the small intestine passes into the large intestine.

Bacteria resident in the colon help with this Digestion of food components that are difficult to break down (for example vegetable fibers). In addition, the colon plays an important role in the Thickening of the stool.

Sections of the intestine can become inflamed different symptoms occur. These include e.g. diarrhea, Pain or Vomit. Basically one differentiates between acute inflammatory (e.g. Enteritis) and inflammatory bowel disease (e.g. Ulcerative colitis).

The cause of the inflammation can be among other things bacteria, Viruses, Parasites, Mushrooms or Autoimmune processes be.



If the stool frequency increases to more than 3 per day, the stool weight is over 200 grams per day, or the stool has a watery consistency, it is called diarrhea (Diarrhea).

Often two mechanisms go hand in hand in the intestine and thus cause the symptom: On the one hand, the bowel movements change so that the food passes the digestive tract faster. As a result, the water content in the intestine also increases, so that the food is excreted even faster. Possible reasons for these processes can be:

  • Insufficient intake of food components
  • Increased intake of water-binding substances, e.g. certain sweeteners
  • Active release of fluid from the intestinal mucous membrane cells
  • Inflammation of the intestinal mucosa leads to the admixture of blood and cells


Inflammation in the intestines can cause severe pain. Depending on the quality, location and duration of the pain, the doctor can draw conclusions about the type of inflammation.

So you can find e.g. with inflammation of diverticula (bulges) in the large intestine, pain in the left lower abdomen is very common. The pain can therefore be traced back to a specific section of the drama noose.

Read on below: Pain in a loop of intestine

If, on the other hand, the appendix (appendix) is affected (see also: appendicitis), those affected feel discomfort in the right lower abdomen. Such well localizable abdominal pain is also called "somatic". They are typical for inflammation in the intestinal area and usually have a burning, sharp character.

The "visceral" pain must be differentiated from this. It is rather difficult to localize and of a dull, diffuse nature.

Typically it occurs e.g. in the event of severe stretching or lack of oxygen in the digestive organs.

Nausea as a symptom of inflammation of the bowel

Vomiting and nausea

At the Vomit if there is a reverse, involuntarily controlled emptying of the gastrointestinal tract. In almost all cases it is accompanying nausea observable.

Vomiting can be induced by three different mechanisms:

  • Functional damage internal organs, especially the digestive system, especially by bacteria, viruses or parasites
  • Substances in the blood (Poisons) such as Alcohol and medication
  • Psychological stress like disgust, stress or emotions

With the classic "Abdominal influenza"Vomiting is one of the most common symptoms. Put simply, removes our body by means of this mechanism harmful pathogens from the organism.

Feeling weak

In the context of inflammation of the intestine, those affected often feel a varying degrees of weakness.

He is responsible for this Loss of water and minerals, either from vomiting or diarrhea.

The body lacks volume and electrolytesso that in particular that Cardiovascular system must spend more energy to ensure adequate blood and oxygen supply to the organs.

In severe cases, a Giving fluids and electrolytes by vein (infusion) be considered.


Severe inflammation of the bowel can occur fever cause. Specially patient one inflammatory bowel disease may develop a higher fever in a severe episode.

Weight loss

In almost all cases Food intake and discomfort with inflammation of the intestines closely linked. It is therefore not surprising that sufferers often take one Weight loss Suffer.


Infectious bowel inflammation

Behind the term "infectious intestinal inflammation" hides the popularly known "Abdominal influenza"(Gastrointestinal infection). The doctor then speaks of one gastroenteritis.

Different pathogens can be the cause, but what they have in common is a possible transmission to other people: The So gastrointestinal flu is contagious! Therefore, if you have an illness, you must strict hygiene be respected. especially the Use of a shared toilet, should avoided if possible be or at least only after thorough disinfection respectively.

Classic symptoms of gastrointestinal flu are nausea, Vomit and diarrhea. A distinction is made between the pathogens self pathogenic act, and pathogens, which poisonous substances (Toxins) produce (e.g. EHEC).

Among the most common Viruses belong: Noroviruses, Adenoviruses and Rotaviruses.

The most common bacteria include: Salmonella, Campylobacter, Shigella, different pathogens Escherichia coli- tribes, Yersinia, Clostridium difficile and Staphylococcus aureus.

Among the most common Parasites counting: Entamoeba histolytica and Cryptosporidium parvum

Basically, the above-mentioned pathogens can mainly be about contaminated food, contaminated drinking water, Smear infections due to insufficient hand hygiene after using the toilet or direct contact with waste products sick people.

Some infectious intestinal inflammations are subject to medical notification, such as one Salmonella disease. In this case, the attending physician must report the infection to the responsible health authority. This is mostly used to collect statistical data on the respective pathogens.

Inflammatory bowel disease

The generic term chronic inflammatory bowel disease includes clinical pictures that are caused by a inflammatory changes in the intestinal wall distinguish.

You can "chronically active"progress (i.e. the symptoms are permanent) or"in bursts"run, with alternation between symptomatic and symptomatic phases.

In most cases sufferers become ill between the ages of 15 and 40, but basically any age is possible. It is estimated that around 200 out of every 100,000 people in Europe are affected.

The cause of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases has not yet been conclusively clarified. Genetic predisposition, stress, Nicotine consumption and Environmental conditions however, seem to play a role.

Crohn's disease

Characteristic of the Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammation of the entire intestinal wall, which in sections (discontinuous) can affect the entire gastrointestinal tract.

Patients develop as the disease progresses stomach pain and diarrhea, come frequently fever and Weight loss added.

Ulcerative colitis

The Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammation of the colon lining that is always behind the anal area in the Rectum begins and from there continuously spreads to other sections of the colon. Sick people suffer mainly from bloody diarrheaaccompanied by constant obsession with stool (Tenesmen).


One describes a diverticulum Protrusions of the colon mucosawhich are very common: Over 50% of 60 year olds are affected.

At a Diverticulitis if there are minor injuries to a diverticulum, e.g. Favored by low-fiber diet. Bacteria get into the protuberance and cause inflammation there. Those affected typically feel Pain in the left lower abdomen, accompanied by fever, nausea, Vomit and diarrhea.


There are many options available to modern medicine to diagnose inflammation of the bowel.

First, the attending physician will conduct a detailed survey (anamnesis) of the patient. In this context, questions are asked about the type, duration and first occurrence of the complaints.

After the physical examination, in which the abdomen in particular is palpated and listened to, other diagnostic tools may be considered. In many cases, however, anamnesis and examination are sufficient to narrow down the cause of the symptoms. Because mostly inflammations of the intestines are harmless gastrointestinal infections, so that no further measures have to be initiated.

However, if the cause is unclear, the symptoms do not go away or even get worse, the doctor often has a blood sample and a stool sample taken.

For example, defense reactions of the body to a pathogen can be detected, but specific inflammation parameters can also be determined. In some diseases, for example when certain bacteria or parasites have triggered the inflammation of the intestine, cultures can be grown from the stool sample: To do this, a fine smear of the sample material is spread on a nutrient medium that contains all the nutrients necessary for bacterial growth. Under optimal conditions, bacteria grow and form clusters, also known as colonies, that are visible to the naked eye.

Read more on the topic: Ultrasound of the abdomen

An ultrasound examination can be useful to clear up gastrointestinal complaints.

In addition, the doctor can do a Ultrasonic of the abdomen. This painless examination will be using ultrasonic waves the individual structures of the abdomen made visible.

If further ambiguity When the cause of the discomfort is available, there is often one Colonoscopy for use (Colonoscopy). It will under weak anesthesia a thin tube with a small camera inserted rectally.

Due to the slight sedation, the patient sleeps during the examination and feels no pain. In this way, the examiner can assess the condition of the intestine and easily discover any inflammation that may be present. Especially with inflammatory bowel disease characteristic changes in the intestinal wall ascertain.

As part of the investigation will be frequent tiny tissue samples taken (biopsy). Under certain circumstances, the pathology laboratory can then determine what type of inflammation is present.


Getting enough fluids is very important.

In all cases of intestinal inflammation, regardless of the cause, one should adequate fluid and electrolyte supply be respected.

Because through frequent vomiting or recurring diarrhea, our body can lose large amounts of them in a short time. Pretzel sticks, rusks, lukewarm tea and water are best for this.

However, if the affected person has very severe symptoms, fluids may need to be passed through the veins (infusion) are given.

Additionally are one Variety of anti-nausea medications, Vomiting and abdominal pain in stores.

However, caution is advised with drugs against diarrhea, as they hinder the body in its natural defense reaction against the diarrhea pathogens and, in the worst case, are even harmful.

If you have severe bacterial inflammation, you must Antibiotics be applied.

The Therapy of a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn's disease) is much more complicated. In the acute "episode" e.g. Cortisone preparations used. Furthermore, patients take funds that are the body's own immune system inhibit, as this plays a major role in the development of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases.


As a rule, "classic gastrointestinal flu" heals and leaves behind within a relatively short time no permanent damage.

However, complications can occur with some rare pathogens, such as bloody breakthroughs in the 2011 EHEC epidemic.

In Germany you also have inflammations such as diverticulitis or a Appendicitis very good forecasts.

In the field of inflammatory bowel disease, great therapeutic advances have been made in recent years, so that patients suffer less from their disease.


With intestinal inflammation in particular, the risk of falling ill can be drastically reduced with a few simple means:

wash your hands

Regular hand washing, in particular after every use of the toilet, before the Preparation of meals, as well as before the meal, minimizes infection with pathogenic germs.

To do this, hold your hands under running water, rub in soap for 20-30 seconds, rinse them thoroughly and finally dry them carefully. It is important to also thumbs and fingertips to clean thoroughly.

Food hygiene

Some germs and parasites stick to food and can only get through thorough washing up remove. Also pay attention to the strictly separate preparation between still raw meat and vegetables.

What to do in case of illness

If possible, sufferers of a gastrointestinal infection should use a separate toilet.

This is how you effectively prevent infection! If this is not possible, the toilet has to be used cleaned and disinfected after each use become. Ultimately, direct physical contact between sick and healthy people should be avoided if possible.