All You Need to Know about Colitis

Colitis occurs due to inflammation of the colon. Infection is the primary reason of inflammation. Before we dwell on the feasible treatment options available for colitis, it will be helpful to understand the causes of colitis.

Some facts and common causes of colitis are listed below.

Infectious colitis
Colon infection can result due to the virus and bacterial presence. The bacterial causes of foodborne infection include E coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter. This kind of infection can result in bloody diarrhea and can cause severe dehydration in the body. These virus and bacteria are common causes of colitis. Parasitic infection is also one of the causes of colitis. These parasites enter the human body whenever contaminated water is consumed and can cause inflammation of the colon which can result in diarrhea.

In addition, pseudomembranous colitis is also caused by Clostridium difficile bacteria and is seen in patients who are taking antibiotics on a regular basis. Consumption of antibiotics regularly leads to altering the course of normal bacteria present in the colon. These bacteria help in digestion and when an excess of antibiotics are taken these bacteria are replaced by an overgrowth of Clostridium bacteria. These bacteria lead to infection which is one of the causes of colitis.

Ischemic colitis
It should be understood that arteries which supply blood to the colon are much similar to any other normal arteries. These arteries also become narrow sometimes due to atherosclerosis, and when these become narrow, they make the colon lose its blood supply and thus become inflamed. The blood supply of colon can also reduce due to other mechanical reasons. This can happen due to volvulus, a condition in which the bowel gets twisted on its own and incarcerated a hernia in which a small portion of the colon is trapped in a part of the abdominal wall. This leads to the blood not being flown to the affected region.

Ischemic colon can also occur if the blood pressure of a person falls. This can happen due to anemia, dehydration or shock a person might suffer from. This condition can usually result in pain, fever and bowel movements which come with a severe loss of blood.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS) and colitis
Inflammatory bowel diseases are of two different types.

  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s disease

Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune illness condition in which the immune system of the body attacks the colon and thus causes inflammation. This colitis condition might get initiated in the rectum and after that spread through the colon area. The symptoms of ulcerative colitis include pain in the abdomen and bowel movements, which are accompanied by blood.

On the other hand, Crohn’s disease infection begins from any region of the digestive tract starting from mouth, esophagus, stomach, up to rectum and anus.

Microscopic colitis
This kind of colon inflammation which includes collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis fall under the preview of microscopic colitis. The inflammation in both these diseases is caused when the colon wall is infested with collagen or lymphocytes. Watery or non-bloody diarrhea is the symptoms of this colitis condition.

This kind of medical condition is most commonly seen in elder women.

Chemical colitis
When chemical gets instilled in the colon, this can result in chemical colitis. This will lead to inflammation and damage to the colitis.

Medication-related colitis
One of the causes of colitis is medication-related colitis complication. This type of colitis occurs due to use of over-the-counter medications and overuse of other drugs as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Seeking medical care for colitis
Diarrhea is a common symptom that a person is suffering from during colitis related infection. A person suffering from this condition should seek medical assistance in cases as:

  • If the person is suffering from persistent diarrhea
  • If the person is suffering from dehydration with symptoms like weakness, dryness of the mouth, eyes, and skin being evident
  • If the person is suffering from significant abdominal pain
  • If blood presence is noted in bowel movement

Treatment for colitis
The treatment of ischemic colitis is usually done through the use of intravenous fluids. This limits any kind of bowel movements and prevents dehydration. However, in case the adequate supply of blood is not restored to bowels surgery might be needed to remove parts of the bowel as these have become dead tissues.

In addition to this treatment therapy, the inflammatory bowel disease is controlled by use of medications. In the initial stages anti-inflammatory medications are used, and in case these do not prove to be much relief other medications which usually cause suppression of immune system have to be used. However, in rare cases, surgery might be needed to remove parts of the colon and small intestine.

In case of colitis infection, it is usually advisable to take medicines after a consultation with the doctor only. This is because any self-medication might prove dangerous and can lead to serious consequences as well.