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Radiation enteritis

  • Alternative Names

    Radiation enteropathy; Radiation-induced small bowel injury; Post-radiation enteritis


    Symptoms may be different depending on what part of the intestines received the radiation.

    Changes in bowel movements may include:

    • Bleeding or mucus from the rectum
    • Diarrhea or watery stools
    • Feeling the need to have a bowel movement most or all of the time
    • Pain in the rectal area, especially during bowel movements

    Other symptoms can include:

    • Loss of appetite
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Stomach cramping or pain

    Most of the time, these symptoms get better within 2 - 3 weeks after radiation treatment ends. This is called acute radiation enteritis.

    When symptoms become long-term (chronic), other problems may include:

    • Bloody diarrhea
    • Greasy or fatty stools
    • Weight loss

    Signs and tests

    The health care provider will do a physical exam and ask you questions about your medical history.

    Tests are not needed very often, but may include:

    • Barium x-ray examination
    • Sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy
    • Upper endoscopy