Colitis is a medical term for inflammation in the colon. There are, however, many different types of colitis, including inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis. Colitis can occur for a short period of time, but some cases are chronic. I
f you experience symptoms of colitis, then you should see a doctor for a diagnosis since there are several health conditions that can cause similar symptoms.
The Symptoms of Colitis – Not everyone experiences the same symptoms when they have colitis. Some, however, are more common than others. Not all of these symptoms are immediately apparent to the naked eye. You will, therefore, need to visit a doctor to gather all of the information required to make an accurate diagnosis.
Diagnosing Colitis – When diagnosing colitis, doctors might need to perform a litany of tests. Some patients complain that the tests are intrusive or painful. They are, however, necessary. In many cases, doctors can prescribe anxyolitic drugs or pain relievers to make patients more comfortable during tests.
Depending on the case, doctors might be able to make a diagnosis based on observable information. This could include pressing on the stomach to test for tenderness; analyzing stool samples; and looking for parasites in stool. Abdominal x-rays and computer tomography are also unintrusive tests. In some cases, doctors might need to investigate the area inside the colon. This requires inserting a small camera into the rectum.
Types of Colitis – Since there are several types of colitis, it makes sense for patients to learn about the various kinds that they make have. These include
â€¢ Ulcerative colitis – a chronic form of the disease that targets the large intestine.
â€¢ Crohnâ€™s disease â€“ another chronic form that can cause intense stomach pain, vomiting, nausea, and weight loss.
â€¢ Microscopic colitis â€“ this is a type of colitis that can only be diagnosed by examining colon tissue with a microscope. It is divided into two sub-types: lymphocytic colitis and collagenous colitis.
â€¢ Diversion colitis â€“ this type of colitis usually develops within a year after surgery on the colon. It is highly treatable.
â€¢ Chemical colitis â€“ this is similar to diversion colitis in that the problem is caused by damage to the colon. The damage in this case, however, comes from chemicals rather than surgery. They are often the result of enemas.
â€¢ Ischemic colitis â€“ ischemic colitis is caused by a lack of blood flow to the colon.
â€¢ Infectious colitis â€“ this is a type of colitis caused by infections. Some are the result of parasites.
Some of the most common colitis symptoms include
â€¢ Abdominal pain
â€¢ Distended or inflamed abdomen
â€¢ Persistent bouts of cramping
â€¢ Loss of appetite
â€¢ Rectal tenesmus, or pain during bowel movements
â€¢ Bloody stools
Other colitis symptoms include
â€¢ Weight loss
â€¢ Increased frequency of bowel movements
â€¢ Colonic mucosal erythema, which is characterized by redness inside the colon
Treatments Options for Colitis
The types of treatments that successfully cure colitis are usually determined by the reason that the illness developed in the first place. Someone with infectious colitis, in other words, will not respond to some types of treatment as a patient with ulcerative colitis.
In some cases, especially ischemic colitis, the patient is ordered to receive all nutrients through an IV until the symptoms have disappeared. This allows the patients to get all the nutrients, calories, and fluids needed to survive without ingesting them orally. Preventing food and liquid intake allows the colon to rest and heal.
In some cases, surgery is the only available treatment for colitis. Doctors, however, only consider this option in severe cases. Removing the damaged part of the colon prevents it from causing problems to the rest of the digestive system and relieves pain. Patients with a predisposition to colitis, however, might need to make several lifestyle changes to help ensure that they do not develop another case of the disease. Otherwise, it can return to cause more problems within a matter of months or years.
Is Colitis a Severe Condition?
Colitis can be a very dangerous health condition. Minor cases of the disease, however, often respond well to dietary restrictions and rest. If a patient has colitis that develops quickly, though, it can cause death. It is, therefore, important to seek medical assistance whenever you suspect that you or someone else might have colitis. Even if it is just a minor case, you will need a doctorâ€™s advice to determine which methods will help you recover properly.