Colitis - Describe Your Experience

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What is colitis?

Colitis is inflammation of the inner lining of the colon and can be associated with diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, and blood in the stool. This inflammation may be due to a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • infection,
  • loss of blood supply to the colon,
  • inflammatory bowel disease, and
  • invasion of the colon wall with lymphocytic white blood cells or collagen.

Anatomy of the colon

The colon, or large intestine, is a hollow, muscular tube that processes waste products of digestion from the small intestine, removes water and ultimately eliminates the remnants as feces (stool) through the anus. The colon is located within the abdominal cavity, the sac that contains the intestine.

The colon is surrounded by many layers of tissue. The innermost layer of the colon is the mucosa that comes into contact with the waste products of digestion. is The mucosa absorbs water and electrolytes back into the blood vessels that are located just below the surface in the submucosa. This is surrounded by a circular layer of muscles and then another outer layer of longitudinal muscles that run along the length of the colon. The muscles work together to help rhythmically squeeze liquid waste from the cecum through the entire length of the colon. Water is gradually removed, turning the waste into formed stool, so that it is excreted out of the anus in solid form.

The colon frames the organs within the peritoneum and its segments are named based on their location.

  • The colon begins in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen, where the terminal ileum, the last part of the small intestine, attaches to the cecum, the first segment of the colon. The appendix is attached to the cecum.
  • The ascending colon begins at the cecum and arises from the right lower abdomen to the right upper abdomen near the liver.
  • The colon then makes a sharp left turn called the hepatic flexure (hepatic=liver), and is referred to as the transverse colon, as it makes its way to the left upper quadrant of the abdomen near the spleen.
  • There is a sharp downward turn called the splenic flexure, and it is referred to as the descending colon as it runs from the left upper quadrant to the left lower quadrant of the abdomen.
  • When it descends into the pelvis, it is referred to as the sigmoid colon.
  • The last several centimeters of the colon are referred to as the rectum.
  • The anus is the final portion of the colon.

Picture of the Large Intestine or Colon
Picture of the Large Intestine or Colon

Return to Colitis (Types)

See what others are saying

Comment from: pawpawdoug, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 20

I have been battling colitis for 8 years. I have been on Entocort from the start, started with 3 a day and then after several months 2 a day. I was on that for a year and a half then 1 a day. I still got flare ups with no rhyme or reason, though I have watched what I would eat. When I have flare ups 2 weeks or longer I will not leave the house. I had at first lost a lot of weight. I was still working so I would eat nothing going in at the top end that didn't run out of the bottom end. I went from 185 to 164 lb. I feel run down all the time and lower back is a killer. I went a year and a half lately with no flare up. The doctor during this time worked me down to skipping two days and taking 1 capsule. I have retired and in this last good stretch been eating anything and topped the 208 lb. mark but have not had a flare up now for 4 weeks, yippee!

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Comment from: Anita, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 08

I have suffered with colitis for over 2 years now. I am not on any medication because I did not want to risk the side effects, especially when my doctor said they may not even work. I have tried probiotics, diet changes, etc. I also have acid reflux. I never knew a natural body function could be so painful. I have sat in a tub of warm water and cried on many occasions. One of the main things I don't understand is I don't lose any weight at all. It seems I have to go to the bathroom 10 minutes after a meal so it's like food goes right through, but no weight loss.

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