Table of Contents
- Colitis facts
- What is colitis?
- Colitis and the anatomy of the colon
- What are the causes (types) of colitis?
- Infectious causes of colitis
- Ischemic causes of colitis
- Inflammatory bowel disease and colitis
- Microscopic colitis
- Allergic colitis in infants
- What are colitis symptoms and signs?
- When should someone contact a doctor about colitis?
- What kind of doctor treats colitis, and how is it diagnosed?
- How is colitis diagnosed (physical examination)?
- What blood tests and/or stool samples diagnose colitis?
- What imaging tests and procedures diagnose colitis?
- What is the treatment for colitis?
- What is the prognosis for a person with colitis?
What are the symptoms of colitis?
Colitis can be caused by infections, loss of blood supply, or chronic diseases. Despite the cause, people suffering from colitis may have typical symptoms that include
- abdominal pain,
- bloating, and
- diarrhea (bloody diarrhea with some types of colitis).
Quick GuideWhat's Causing Your Abdominal Pain?
- Colitis refers to inflammation of the inner lining of the colon. There are numerous causes of colitis including infection, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis), ischemic colitis, allergic reactions, and microscopic colitis.
- Symptoms of colitis depend upon the cause and may include
- Associated symptoms depend upon the cause of colitis and may include
- Blood in the stool is never normal and medical care should be sought for evaluation of the cause.
- Depending upon the history and physical examination, further testing may be necessary to find the cause of colitis and may include blood tests (complete blood count, electrolytes, kidney function and inflammatory marker tests), urine and stool samples, colonoscopy, and barium enema.
- Treatment of colitis depends upon the cause, and often is focused on symptom relief, supportive care, and maintaining adequate hydration and pain control. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat infectious causes of colitis. Some bacterial infections that cause colitis resolve without any antibiotic treatment.
Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. "Living with Crohn’s & Colitis."
Kasper, D., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2015.
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