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What is Colitis?

Inflamed colon (or large intestine) is also referred to as colitis. Colitis can be caused by food poisoning due to disease-causing organisms like Salmonella and Escherichia coli. The condition may also be a result of autoimmune reactions and a shortage of blood supply to the colon. Regardless of its cause, people suffering from colitis normally report symptoms including diarrhea and abdominal pain. 

There are different types of colitis, including ischemic colitis, chemical colitis, infectious colitis, microscopic colitis, ulcerative colitis, C. diff colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Colitis may be mild, moderate, or severe, and specific symptoms may occur depending on the type of colitis.

Common symptoms include:

  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Diarrhea (sometimes blood-stained)
  • Constipation
  • Cramping

People suffering from colitis may also experience:

  • Chills and fever
  • Tenesmus (the persistent desire to have a bowel movement)
  • Successive abdominal pain that leads to diarrhea, resolving afterward.
  • Hemorrhoids resulting from diarrhea 

Diagnosis

Colitis may be diagnosed by examining a patient’s symptoms and medical history. Colonoscopy and other imaging tests may also be performed. Depending on the type of colitis, your physician will prescribe the best course of treatment. While blood-stained diarrhea is not uncommon, sufferers are advised to see their physician if colitis is suspected.