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Edema of the Small Intestine

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Intestinal Edema in an 11 Month Old Baby. Courtesy: Nature.com

Intestinal Edema of Duodenum in an 11 Month Old Baby. Courtesy: Nature.com

What Is Small Intestinal Edema?

Small intestinal edema is characterized by fluid accumulation within the intestinal mucosa so that the intestinal wall appears thick and swollen.

Intestinal edema hampers peristalsis that can result in pain and gas build-up. Peristalsis is the normal rhythmic muscular wave-like action that moves residue along the gastrointestinal tract.

Q: What part of the small intestinal lining is swollen?

A: Any part of the small intestine may be affected. Some causes of edema include allergic reactions, enteropathies such as celiac disease, cow milk enteropthy, yeast infection, parasite infection, inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease, and certain medications.

For example, the anti-hypertensive drugs known as Angiotension Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors can cause intestinal angioedema and therefore the patient may present with gastrointestinal complaints.1

What Is Small Intestinal Edema In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?


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  1. LoCascio E J,  Mahler  S A, and  Arnold TC. Intestinal Angioedema Misdiagnosed as Recurrent Episodes of Gastroenteritis. West J Emerg Med. Sep 2010; 11(4): 391–394. []