Everything You Need to Know About Colitis

Colitis : Types, Causes, Symptoms, Detection, Risk Factors, and Treatment.

Colitis is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the bowel that results in ulcers, diarrhea, cramping, and long-lasting inflammation and abdominal pain. Some of the possible causes of an inflamed colon are infection, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), lack of blood supply in the colon, and invasion of the colon wall with lymphocytic white blood cells.

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Types of Colitis
These are the different types of colitis:
  • Infectious Colitis
  • Ischemic Colitis
  • Crohn's Colitis
  • Microscopic Colitis
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Collagenous Colitis
  • Diversion Colitis
  • Lymphocytic Colitis
  • Fulminant Colitis
  • Chemical Colitis
  • Atypical Colitis

Risk Factors

  • Gastrointestinal Perforation: A ruptured bowel occurs when chronic inflammation creates a hole in the intestinal wall. In this situation, a large amount of bacteria oozes into the abdomen and cause infection.

  • Toxic Megacolon: The colon expands and does not contract properly, thereby moving intestinal gas along. If it advances to abdominal distension, patients should immediately seek medical attention so as to prevent the bowel from rupturing.

  • Risk of Colorectal Cancer: Patients are more at risk of developing colorectal cancer if the condition is severe and lasts long.

  • Fulminant Colitis: In fulminant colitis, the thickness of the intestinal wall gets damaged, losing the ability to contract the intestinal wall normally. Finally, the colon begins to expand due to the loss of muscle tone. X-rays can determine the paralyzed sections of the intestine and the trapped gas inside the abdomen.
Causes
There are several causes of the inflammation of the colon, including:
  • Infection (e.g., caused by bacteria such as C. difficile, parasites, and viruses)
  • Ischemic Colitis (caused by the low blood supply to the colon)
  • Allergic Reactions
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) (e.g., Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis)
  • Microscopic Colitis (e.g., lymphocytic colitis and collagenous colitis)

1. Infectious Causes

Several bacteria present in the colon live in harmony with the body, causing no symptoms. However, it may result in an infection if a virus, bacteria, or parasite invade the small/large intestine.

Common bacteria that cause colitis include:

  • E. Coli
  • Salmonella
  • Campylobacter
  • Yersinia
  • Shigella

These infections occur because of eating contaminated food. Some common symptoms include abdominal cramps, dehydration from water loss, and diarrhea with or without blood. The toxins that the bacteria can produce or the infection itself can affect other organs in the body.

Clostridium difficile — also referred to as C. difficile — is a bacterium that causes colitis. This often results following the consumption of an antibiotic or hospitalization. C. difficile is found in the colon of healthy people that lives in harmony with healthy bacteria. However, when a patient takes antibiotics, susceptible bacteria in the colon gets destroyed, resulting in colitis. The bacteria may commonly be found on many surfaces in the hospital, including stethoscopes, bed rails, and toilets.

Unfortunately, this infection is highly contagious and more common outside the hospital as well. People can develop this condition without consuming antibiotics or exposure to a healthcare facility.

The most common parasite to cause colitis is Entamoeba Histolytica, commonly found in infected drinking water. If a person drinks this infected water, he/she may develop colitis. This infection can be passed from individual to individual because of poor hygiene and sanitation.

2. Ischemic Causes

The colon can be considered as a hollow muscle that requires a regular blood supply to function properly. When the colon loses its blood supply and becomes ischemic, it becomes inflamed. The lack of blood supply in the colon causes inflammation, eventually leading to pain, diarrhea, and fever.

With age, a person's arteries narrow and can cause ischemic colitis. Risk factors for ischemic colitis are similar to peripheral artery disease (PAD) and atherosclerotic heart disease, including high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and high blood pressure. Ischemia is caused by low blood pressure or anemia, which can decrease the supply of oxygen to the colon, resulting in colitis. Patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib) and not anticoagulated are at increased risk of developing ischemic bowel.

3. IBD

Two of the major types of IBD, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, are autoimmune diseases that cause colitis. Ulcerative colitis usually begins in the rectum before proceeding to the rest of the colon. The symptoms include diarrheal bowel movements and abdominal pain.

Crohn's disease mostly occurs in the gastrointestinal tract (GI), including the colon, stomach, small intestine, and esophagus. Both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis may infect other organs in the body, along with the GI tract.

4. Microscopic Colitis

Microscopic colitis can be of two types, namely, collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis. These are types of white blood cells that can invade the colon's inner wall due to inflammation. This type of colitis is not commonly found and can be an autoimmune disease. The resultant diarrhea is watery and without the presence of blood in the stool.

5. Allergic Colitis

Allergic colitis mostly occurs in infants less than one year of age, caused by allergies to cow or soy milk. This condition infects breastfed babies, where mothers consume cow's milk and eventually pass that protein into their breast milk.

Signs and Symptoms of Colitis

Common signs of colitis can include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Intense pain
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Ulcers on the colon that may bleed
  • Tenderness in the abdomen
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Swelling of colon tissue
  • Depression
  • Erythema (redness) of the colon surface
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea with or without blood
  • Rectal bleeding

Other symptoms may include abdominal cramps, bloating, heartburn, gas, indigestion, gastroesophageal reflux disease, bowel urgency, and other uncomfortable aches in the GI system.

Detection

Some of the standard tests that detect colitis in a person include X-rays of the colon, colonoscopy, testing the stool for mucus and blood, and sigmoidoscopy. Other common tests include stool and blood tests such as blood chemistry tests. A high erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is typically used to detect acute colitis that measures the time it takes for red blood cells to settle in a blood sample.

Treatment

The type of treatment is based on what is causing colitis. In several cases, patients require a little more than symptomatic care, including medications to control pain and regulate bowel movements. Patients who have acute colitis may often need IV fluids and other interventions.

  • Infection: Bacteria and other pathogens that cause diarrhea and colitis may require a batch of antibiotics based on the cause. Viral infections require fluids and may take longer to treat. Some bacterial infections, including Salmonella, do not require antibiotics, as the body can eliminate the infection on its own. Other bacterial infections, including C. difficile, need antibiotics.
  • Diarrhea and abdominal pain: These are the main symptoms of colitis that may require the individual to go on a clear fluid diet for 24 hours, strict bed rest, and Tylenol for pain. No other care is required if the symptoms resolve quickly.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Proper medications are required to treat IBD. Medicines with anti-inflammatory properties may be used initially, along with the medicines that suppress the immune system. In severe cases, patients may require surgery, including removal of the colon and small intestine.
  • Ischemic Colitis: Treatment usually begins with IV fluids to prevent dehydration. If the blood supply is not restored, surgery may be required to remove parts of the bowel compromised because of the lack of blood supply.
Grocare's Ayurvedic Kit for Treating Colitis

Made with the richness of natural potent herbs, Stomium®, Xembran®, and Acidim® are ayurvedic medicines that work together to provide relief from colitis. The Colitis Kit by Grocare India reduces the inflammation in the colon by controlling the sub-clinical infection in the intestinal crypts. Stomium® is an ayurvedic medicine that works by attacking the sub-clinical bacterial infection, causing it to weaken over time and reduce inflammation.

Xembran® is a potent natural bio-herb and a bacteriostatic that works together with the body's defense mechanism to remove harmful bacteria. Acidim® is another useful product in the Colitis Kit that helps maintain the pH of the intestinal crypts to plasmolyze the infection, thereby allowing the intestinal tract to heal. Moreover, it has anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing the symptoms of colitis.

Two tablets of Acidim® should be taken twice a day (post breakfast and dinner), two tablets of Stomium® should be taken a day twice (post breakfast and dinner), and one tablet of Xembran® should be taken after breakfast, and two tablets need to be taken twice daily (post-dinner), respectively. All the tablets should be taken together with meals. The tablets should be taken for 4-6 months or as prescribed by the doctor until complete recovery. If taken within the prescribed dosage, Stomium®, Xembran®, and Acidim® do not cause any known side effects and help cure colitis in patients naturally over time.

Individuals can notice the changes within a few weeks of the kit's usage, in the form of relief from pain, bloating, and discomfort. Results may vary based on the severity of the disease, age, diet, and lifestyle.

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