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Colitis or inflammation of the colon can occur in different types that depend on the reason for inflammation. Each type of Colitis is caused by different things and affects a different area in the body. Ulcerative Colitis is inflammation of the large intestine lining and the rectum. Pseudo membranous Colitis is an infection within the colon with an overgrowth of Clostridium difficile bacteria. Gastroenteritis Colitis is the inflammation of both intestine and stomach because of an infection of cytomegalovirus. These conditions are often treated with medications and dramatic changes in the diet. Flare-ups of the condition even after treatment are not uncommon. Treatment for the condition will vary based on the age of the individual and their lifestyle. A related medical condition is Crohns disease.

Causes, Risk Factors and Complications of Colitis

Physicians are still trying to determine what triggers Colitis. However, it is believed that stress can aggravate some symptoms, but is not the underlying cause behind this disease. There are two current schools of thought in terms of the development of Colitis ---- heredity and the immune system. Many scientists believe that bacteria or a virus may be responsible for Colitis because the immune system response to an invading microorganism can cause inflammation in the inner lining of the colon. Heredity may also play a role since the likelihood of developing Colitis goes up significantly for people who have a parent or a sibling with the disease.

The inner lining of the colon is sensitive and can become injured easily. As such, there are a number of severe complications that can occur when Colitis goes untreated. Some of the most prevalent complications that stem from untreated Colitis include: severe bleeding, severe dehydration, perforated colon, liver disease, osteoporosis, kidney stones, skin inflammation, eye inflammation, joint inflammation, increased colon cancer risk and toxic megacolon. Because complications of untreated Colitis are so severe, seeking professional medical assistance when symptoms appear is imperative.

Signs, Symptoms and Tests of Colitis

The biggest problem with inflammatory bowel disorders is that each can present itself differently. This makes pinpointing the exact issue imperative for proper diagnosis. Colitis symptoms can vary depending on how severe the inflammation is and where it is occurring in the body. A physician will need to pinpoint the exact location of the inflammation by determining where the pain is. Some of the most common symptoms associated with Colitis include: bloody diarrhea, severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping on one side of the body, rapid expansion of the colon, severe fatigue and significant weight loss.

A physician will typically diagnose Colitis by ruling out other potential causes for these symptoms. They may also utilize blood tests, stool samples, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, barium enema, X-ray and CT scan in order to take a look at the abdomen and to take a good look at the colon and digestive tract. Combining several tests may be necessary in order to rule out other causes and diseases and to diagnose Colitis.

Treatment, Drugs and Prevention of Colitis

Physicians treat Colitis by reducing the inflammation responsible for causing the symptoms. In the best case, the medical treatment will lead to a remission in the disease, and at the worst, symptom relief will be possible. Doctors will recommend the use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as Sulfasalazine and Mesalamine, immune system suppressors such as Azathioprine and Cyclosporine and other medications such as antibiotics and pain relievers. These medications can reduce the appearance of symptoms and help to relieve the inflammation responsible for Colitis.