Diagnosis

Diagnosis for radiation enteritis might start with a discussion of your medical history and a physical exam.

To see inside your small intestine, a long flexible tube with a camera is passed down your throat (endoscopy). Or the tube can be passed through your rectum to look at your large intestine (colonoscopy). Sometimes a pill-sized camera that you swallow is used to create pictures of your intestines (capsule endoscopy). Other tests might include imaging tests, such as X-rays, a CT scan or an MRI scan.

Treatment

Radiation enteritis treatment usually involves managing symptoms until they go away. This condition causes irritation of the intestines after radiation therapy for cancer. Your health care provider might recommend changes to your diet and medications for diarrhea and pain. Antibiotics can treat an overgrowth of bacteria. If radiation enteritis lasts longer, you might need a feeding tube. Sometimes, surgery is used to bypass the part of the intestine that's irritated.

Radiation enteritis care at Mayo Clinic

May 21, 2022

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  1. Yeo CJ, ed. Radiation enteritis. In: Shackelford's Surgery of the Alimentary Tract. 8th ed. Elsevier; 2019. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 12, 2022.
  2. Roberts I. Diagnosis and management of chronic radiation enteritis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 12, 2022.
  3. Gastrointestinal complications (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/constipation/GI-complications-hp-pdq. Accessed Jan. 12, 2022.
  4. Loge L, et al. Radiation enteritis: Diagnostic and therapeutic issues. Journal of Visceral Surgery. 2020; doi:10.1016/j.jviscsurg.2020.08.012.
  5. Fay Hale M. Radiation enteritis: From diagnosis to management. Current Opinion in Gastroenterology. 2020; doi:10.1097/MOG.0000000000000632.
  6. Ami TR. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic. March 11, 2022.

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