Necrotizing enterocolitis - Symptoms, causes and treatment

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) or necrotizing enterocolitis is inflammation of the large intestine or small intestine in infants. This condition generally occurs in babies born prematurely.although not a few are also experienced by normal born babies.

Necrotizing enterocolitis Initially only affects the inner lining of the intestine, but can progress to the outer layer where it can form a hole. If this condition occurs, bacteria that are normally found in the intestines will escape from the intestines into the abdominal cavity (peritoneum) and cause peritonitis.

If not treated promptly, this condition can lead to a severe infection and a number of other serious complications. In fact, it is possible to cause death.

Reason Necrotizing Eenterocolitis

It is not clear what causes necrotizing enterocolitisHowever, there are several factors that are known to increase the baby's risk of developing this condition, namely:

  • Born prematurely

    Babies born prematurely are very susceptible to necrotizing enterocolitis because the development of the organ is not perfect.

  • Give formula milk

    Breastfed babies are less likely to have necrotizing enterocolitis than formula-fed infants. This is because the content of breast milk is easily digested and contains substances that can help the baby's body fight infection.

  • Born through a difficult delivery

    A difficult delivery can cause the baby to be deprived of oxygen. Lack of oxygen supply to the intestine will cause damage to the intestinal wall, including NEC.

  • Have an intestinal infection

    Infants with intestinal infections, such as gastroenteritis, are also more susceptible to necrotizing enterocolitis.

Symptoms of Necrotizing Eenterocolitis

Symptoms that appear in infants with necrotizing enterocolitis Usually occurs in the first 2 weeks after the baby is born. These symptoms are:

  • Enlarged belly with redness
  • Greenish vomit
  • Weak
  • Difficult to breastfeed
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Bloody or black stools
  • Difficult to breathe
  • Weak heart rate
  • Low blood pressure

When to go to the doctor

Necrotizing enterocolitis is a condition that requires prompt treatment. Go to the doctor immediately if your baby has any of the symptoms mentioned above, especially if your baby is at risk for this condition. Early diagnosis and treatment will reduce the possibility of complications.

Necrotizing Diagnosis Eenterocolitis

To diagnose necrotizing enterocolitisAfter that, the doctor will conduct a question and answer session with the parents regarding the symptoms that appear in the baby, the baby's health history, and the history of the baby's birth. Next, the doctor will do a physical examination to see if there is an enlargement in the baby's stomach.

To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will perform additional examinations, such as:

  • Baby stool samples, to find out whether there is blood or not in the baby's feces
  • Blood test, to determine the white blood cell count
  • X-rays, to detect whether there are signs of leakage in the intestines

A blood test result that shows a white blood cell count below normal could be a sign that your baby's immune system to fight infection is low.

Necrotizing Treatment Eenterocolitis

The treatment that will be given depends on the age, severity of the disease, and the overall health condition of the baby. Initially, the doctor will ask the mother to temporarily not give breast milk to the baby. After that, the doctor will perform several treatments such as:

  • Insertion of a tube from the mouth or nose into the stomach to empty the stomach contents
  • Provision of nutritional intake through infusion
  • Giving antibiotics through an IV to fight infection
  • Giving additional oxygen, if the baby has difficulty breathing because the stomach is swollen
  • Regular monitoring by doing blood tests and X-rays to make sure the baby's condition doesn't get worse

In severe cases, such as a perforated intestine and inflammation of the abdominal wall, the doctor will perform surgery to remove the damaged intestinal tissue. The doctor will make a temporary drain in the abdominal wall, namely a colostomy or ileostomy, until the inflammation of the intestine improves and the intestine can be reattached.

Complications of Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Some of the complications that can be experienced by babies with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) are:

  • Liver disfunction
  • Short bowel syndrome
  • Intestinal narrowing
  • Intestinal perforation or tearing of the intestine
  • Peritonitis
  • Sepsis

Prevention of Necrotizing Enterocolitis

As with the causes, how to prevent necrotizing enterocolitis is not yet known. The best effort that can be done is to avoid factors that can increase the baby's risk of developing this condition. This can be achieved by:

  • Maintaining the health of the mother and fetus during pregnancy
  • Take measures to prevent intestinal infections
  • Choosing breast milk as a baby food intake instead of formula milk
  • Give breast milk gradually