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5 Common Causes of Colitis
5 Common Causes of Colitis

Colitis is an extremely uncomfortable condition caused by the inflammation of the colon. The severity of the disease ranges from mild to severe and individuals suffer from several symptoms. The symptoms of colitis include feeling constipated, abdominal pain and cramping, experiencing small bowel movements which are frequent in nature, and experiencing diarrhea which may or may not have blood. If you are experiencing these symptoms, visit a doctor immediately and seek treatment. There are several different causes of colitis and each underlying cause is treated differently. The different types of colitis include the likes of microscopic colitis, infectious colitis, ischemic colitis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis, among others. After reviewing your history, a physical examination, imaging tests, laboratory tests, and a colonoscopy, your doctor will conclude that you are suffering from the disease and suggest treatment for its underlying cause. Here are a few of the most common causes of colitis.

Causes of Colitis

  • Infectious Causes
    There are millions of good bacteria living in the colon. They do the body no harm and cause no symptoms whatsoever. When some viruses, parasites, and bacteria invade the small or large intestine, it may lead to some infections. These infections may occur when you eat contaminated food. The symptoms include diarrhea with or without blood, dehydration from water loss, abdominal cramp, numerous watery bowel movements, and pain. Other organs in the body can be infected by the infection as well, or by the toxins produced by the bacteria, viruses or parasites.
  • Ischemic Causes
    The colon is like a hollow muscle that requires a normal flow of oxygen-rich blood to function properly. When the colon loses its supply of blood, it may become inflamed. Ischemia causes the inflammation of the colon and may lead to the appearance of several symptoms of diarrhea with or without blood, pain, and fever. Visit a doctor immediately if you are suffering from these symptoms. The disease may also be a result of age. As one age, the arteries that supply blood to the colon become narrower. This may result in the onset of the disease. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes are the leading risk factors for developing narrowed arteries. Abstain from smoking as it may add to the severity of the condition.

Ischemia caused by anemia or low blood pressure can decrease oxygen delivery to the colon and lead to the onset of the disease. People who have atrial fibrillation too are at a risk of developing ischemic bowel. Blood clots may form in the heart leading to the blockage of the path of blood flowing in the arteries to the colon. The flow of oxygen-rich blood to the colon may also be compromised if the blood vessels carrying this blood are mechanically obstructed. The twisting of the bowel or the herniation of the colon through the openings in the abdominal wall may lead to this.

  • Ulcerative Colitis
    This begins in the rectum and eventually spreads to the rest of the colon. It spreads from the rectum to the sigmoid, transverse, descending and finally ascends to the colon and cecum. Its symptoms include abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. Visit a doctor immediately if you are suffering from any of the above-mentioned causes of colitis.
  • Crohn’s Disease
    This may occur anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract including the colon, stomach, small intestine, and esophagus. There may be skipped lesions in the gastrointestinal tract when it comes to this disease. This essentially means that abnormal segments of the tract and interspersed with normal segments. The disease may also involve other organs in the body and it is one of the most common causes of colitis.
  • Microscopic Causes
    The microscopic causes of colitis are of two types- collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis. Lymphocytes or collagen infiltrate the layers of the wall of the colon and enter the system. This may happen as a result of inflammation and is an uncommon illness. It may be an autoimmune disease and is characterized by symptoms like watery diarrhea and no blood present in the stool.

The symptoms of colitis can be mistaken for another disease, but if you are suffering from bloody stools, it is always a cause of concern, and you must visit a doctor immediately. After you have been successfully diagnosed with the disease, your doctor will suggest treatment according to the underlying cause of the disease, among the list of probable causes of colitis. The treatment for colitis aims at providing relief from its symptoms, maintaining adequate hydration, pain control, and supportive care. Antibiotics may be administered to treat the infectious causes of the disease, while bacterial infections leading to colitis can be resolved without any antibiotic treatment. Whatever be the case, seek immediate treatment before it is too late.