Colitis (ko-li-tis) is an irritation of the colon, which is also called the bowel or large intestine (in-tes-tin). The colon is a 5 to 6 foot long muscular tube inside your abdomen (belly) where stool is formed. The colon runs from your small intestine to your anus (rear end). Colitis causes inflammation (redness, pain, and swelling) and ulcers (sores) in the top layers of the lining of the colon. Colitis occurs most often in people 15 to 40 years old, but children and older people can also get colitis.
The signs and symptoms of colitis may come and go any time. The inflammation kills cells lining the colon and causes the colon to empty, often resulting in diarrhea. Ulcers are formed where the cells were killed. The ulcers bleed, putting blood, pus, and mucous into your stool. You may also have one or more of the following signs and symptoms.
Blood and BM samples may be tested to learn what is causing the colitis. A colon biopsy may be taken during either a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy procedure and sent to a lab. The results will help caregivers learn more about your colitis. Medicine, rest, or a special diet may be used to treat your colitis. You may need to go into the hospital for further tests and treatment. There is no cure for colitis.
Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.
Screening Tests: There is a higher risk of colon cancer if you have had colitis longer than 10 years. Ask your caregiver how often you should have a colonoscopy procedure to be sure you do not have colon cancer. You may need a bone density test if you have been on immunosuppressant medicine for a long time. This medicine group increases the risk of osteoporosis, also known as "brittle bone disease."
Other ways of treating your symptoms : Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.
Talk to your caregiver if:
You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
1. Anton PA: Stress and mind-body impact on the course of inflammatory bowel diseases. Semin Gastrointest Dis 1999; 10(1):14-19.
2. Ballegaard M, Bjergstrom A, Brondum S et al: Self-reported food intolerance in chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Scand J Gastroenterol 1997; 32(6):569-571.
3. Biasco G, Zannoni U, Paganelli GM et al: Folic acid supplementation and cell kinetics of rectal mucosa in patients with ulcerative colitis. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1997; 6(6):469-471.
4. Gionchetti P, Rizzello F, Venturi A et al: Oral bacteriotherapy as maintenance treatment in patients with chronic pouchitis: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Gastroenterology 2000; 119(2):305-309.
5. Grimminger F, Fuhrer D, Papavassilis C et al: Influence of intravenous n-3 lipid supplementation on fatty acid profiles and lipid mediator generation in a patient with severe ulcerative colitis. Eur J Clin Invest 1993; 23:706-715.
6. Mitsuyama K, Saiki T, Kanauchi O et al: Treatment of ulcerative colitis with germinated barley foodstuff feeding: a pilot study. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 1998; 12(12):1225-1230.
7. Pullan RD, Rhodes J, Ganesh S et al: Transdermal nicotine for active ulcerative colitis. N Engl J Med 1994; 330:811-815.
8. Rhodes J & Thomas GAO: Smoking: good or bad for inflammatory bowel disease? Gastroenterol 1994; 106:907-910(editorial).
9. Schafer DW: Hypnosis and the treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Am J Clin Hypn 1997; 40(2):111-117.
10. Thomas GOA, Rhodes J & Mani V et al: Transdermal nicotine as maintenance therapy for ulcerative colitis. N Engl J Med 1995; 332:988-992.
11. Wang YL, Li XH & Zhang H: Study of treating experimental ulcerative colitis of spleen deficiency type with "guben yichang tablet" in guinea pigs. Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih 1995;15(2):98-100.