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What Causes Ileum Inflammation?

By Amy Hunter
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Ileum inflammation can be caused by irritation to the intestinal wall, infection, problems with the immune system, malfunction of the digestive tract, or an obstruction. The medical term for ileum inflammation is ileitis. Ileitis is one of several types of inflammatory bowel disease. It affects the very bottom section of the small intestines. Crohn's ileitis is a form of Crohn's disease that causes inflammation of the ileum. It is caused by Lawsonia intracellularis, a type of bacteria.

Individuals suffering from ileitis often experience pain during and after meals. The illness itself is progressive, and without treatment, a blockage of thickened intestinal wall can develop, leading to severe health consequences, and even death. A more common side effect of the inflammation, however, is trouble getting adequate nutrition. The ileum is responsible for absorbing many nutrients during the digestive process. Inflammation makes it difficult for the ileum to perform its job properly, which can lead to undernourishment.

Symptoms of ileum inflammation include weight loss, pain in the abdomen, and problems with the bowels. These symptoms are similar to those of other bowel disorders, and a healthcare provider will need to determine the area of inflammation while working on a treatment plan. A definitive diagnosis is made through several blood tests, including testing protein levels and looking for specific antibodies, as well as through endoscopy and a barium control study. During an endoscopy, a tube with a light and camera is passed into the intestinal tract, so the physician can see areas of inflammation. During a barium control study, the individual takes barium, which provides greater contrast in the intestinal tract, making it easier to see problems with imaging diagnostics, such as x-rays.

Treatment for ileitis includes a low fiber diet and medication, including antibiotics. In some cases, an ileostomy is required to provide relief. An ileostomy is a surgical procedure where the rectum and colon are removed, and the bottom of the ileum is passed through a stoma, a surgically created opening in the abdominal wall.

It is possible to modify the diet to reduce discomfort from ileum inflammation, although this should not take the place of medical care. Drink adequate water and eat soft, healthy foods such as yogurt and cottage cheese. Avoid foods that are high in fiber, which are difficult for the body to digest, and spicy foods, which can irritate the already sensitive digestive tract. Eat slowly and chew the food well.

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Discussion Comments

By anon986378 — On Jan 24, 2015

I just had a colonoscopy and it showed an ulceration on the ilieum valve and they took biopsies. Now I have to have a ct scan. I was wondering if anyone had similar problem and what the diagnosis was. I've also had weight loss and diarrhea .

By anon331220 — On Apr 21, 2013

I have been diagnosed with Crohn's disease due to inflammation of the ileum. I have no symptoms! I did get the small bowel series done and also the colonoscopy and the endoscopy. They found little ulcers around the ileum. The only confusing part to me is I don't have any symptoms. When they ran the biopsies they all showed up negative for the bacteria found n Crohn's. I was put on prednisone and the side effects made me feel sick! I just wish there were more answers.

By candyquilt — On Feb 07, 2013

Apparently, certain bacterial and viral infections can lead to inflammation in the ileum as well. But it's difficult to diagnose and can be diagnosed as something else.

The other reason it's difficult to identify the cause is because the symptoms of ileitis, especially diarrhea and weight loss is common to several different diseases.

My doctor has ruled out Crohn's as the cause of my ileitis. He thinks that I have some kind of infection that's causing the inflammation and perhaps colitis as well. Hopefully, I will find out soon.

By bear78 — On Feb 06, 2013
@simrin-- Inflammation is a symptom of Crohn's disease. It can occur in different parts of the colon in this disease, including the ileum.

Do you have inflammation in any other part of your colon? Did the doctors say that the ileum is the starting point of the disease?

I hope the inflammation doesn't spread from the ileum to other parts of the colon as it sometimes occurs with Crohn's.

By SteamLouis — On Feb 05, 2013

Is ileum inflammation common with all Crohn's?

I have just been diagnosed with Crohn's disease and had a colonoscopy done. The doctor said that my ileum is very inflamed.

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