postenteritis syndrome

Last reviewed 01/2018

Post-enteritis syndrome is not an uncommon cause of persistent diarrhoea in childhood. The diagnosis of this condition is established on the following grounds:

  • there is a history of an acute attack of diarrhoea. The evidence of ill-health and/or dehydration should be documented. If possible there should have been identification of a specific pathogen.
  • there should be a history of poorly formed and frequent stools persisting after a period of two weeks when most episodes of diarrhoea have finished.

In the majority of cases of post-enteritis syndrome there is an associated development of sugar intolerance. The diagnosis of sugar intolerance is confirmed by the finding of reducing substances in the stools or a positive breath hydrogen test. Most cases will resolve when the particular sugar, often lactose, is removed from the diet.