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Necrotizing Enterocolitis

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.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kimberly Dow, MD, FRCPC - Neonatology
Current as of March 22, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 22, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.