What is Colitis?

by Anthony Carter on April 4, 2011


Colitis refers to a large number of different conditions that lead to inflammation within the lining of the bowel; usually the large intestine. This inflammation can lead to a lot of unpleasant symptoms that can be disruptive to a person’s routine. The fact that there are different types of colitis means that there are different ways to deal with the problem. It is important to identify the cause to ensure that the correct course of action is then taken.

The Symptoms of Colitis

There are a number of different symptoms associated with colitis and the most common of these include:

  • Diarrhea or frequently having a loose bowel motion
  • Cramping in the abdominal region
  • Weight loss
  • Inability to sleep at night
  • Loss of control over bowel movements – incontinence
  • Loss of appetite
  • A sensation of bloating
  • Bleeding from the rectal area

All of these symptoms don’t necessarily indicate that a person has colitis as they can also indicate other conditions as well – some of these are potentially very serious. It is always important to seek medical advice when we begin to experience these types of symptoms.

The Causes of Colitis

As mentioned above there are many possible causes of colitis and these include:

  • Colitis may be due to an infection. If this is a bacterial infection then it may be possible to treat it with antibiotics. If the colitis is due to a viral infection then this can be tougher to deal with.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome is associated with frequent bouts of colitis. There are many people who have this condition but are unaware of it because it hasn’t been diagnosed. If you suffer from colitis regularly then you need to be checked for irritable bowel syndrome as this could be one of the causes.
  • Intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s Disease means that those with the condition will be more prone to developing colitis.
  • Some drugs can create colitis type symptoms as unwanted side effects

How to Deal with Colitis

In most instances colitis will be caused by something we have eaten; salmonella is a usual culprit. If you are experiencing the symptoms of colitis for more than 48 hours then you should seek medical assistance; especially if you don’t have an underlying disease that you suspect is causing the problem. If you have a bacterial infection then it will be important to be put on the right type of antibiotic. If it is due to some other cause then this needs to be investigated; sometimes appendicitis can be mistook for something less sinister. Some types of food poisoning can be dangerous and will require medical assistance.

The best way to deal with colitis is to avoid getting it in the first place. This will not be always possible but ensuring that we take precautions with food preparation and cooking will reduce our risk. It is also important that we learn proper sanitary routines such as properly washing our hands after we have been to the toilet.

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