Necrotizing enterocolitis is an infection and inflammation of a newborn's intestine. It can be mild or severe, leading to bowel obstruction and tissue death.
Symptoms in a newborn may include a swollen or tender belly, poor appetite or throwing up, constipation, and dark, black, or bloody stools. A newborn may also have a low or unstable body temperature and not be very active or energetic.
Necrotizing enterocolitis is believed to result from a combination of factors, including premature birth and immature immune and digestive systems.
This condition requires treatment in the hospital. The newborn is fed intravenously to allow time for the intestines to heal. And antibiotics are used to prevent or treat infection. Surgery is sometimes needed.
Current as of: September 20, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Kimberly Dow MD, FRCPC - Neonatology & Brad W. Warner MD - Pediatric Surgery