Colitis is a chronic digestive disease characterized by inflammation of the inner lining of the colon (large intestine). Infection, poor blood supply and parasites are a few of the potential causes of this inflammation. The most common symptoms experienced include abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, fever and fatigue. Because of the variance in these symptoms, treatment will largely depend on the source of the inflammation.
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Most cases can be treated with symptomatic care, typically with pain medication and clear fluids. However, patients who become ill often require intravenous fluids and other intervention. In today’s blog, we’ll be discussing the three most common forms of colitis and their treatment options.
1. Infectious Colitis
Infectious colitis is often caused by viruses, bacteria or parasites. Someone with this type of colitis may experience fever, diarrhea and stool samples that may test positive for enteropathogens such as salmonella or E. coli. Depending on the cause of the infection, it’s possible to develop this disease from contaminated water, food borne illness or poor hygiene.
Treatment for infectious colitis most often involves time, fluids and medicine. However, some bacterial infections like Salmonella don’t require antibiotics as the body will get rid of the infection on its own. While other infections such as Clostridium requires antibiotic treatment.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 3 million adults in the U.S. suffered from IBD in 2015. Inflammatory bowel disease is a group of chronic diseases that cause inflammation in the digestive tract. Various conditions fall under IBD, but the two most common types are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Anti-inflammatory medications are often used in the earlier stages of IBD. And if necessary, medications that suppress the immune system may be added into the patient’s regimen. Surgery may be an option in more severe cases.
3. Ischemic Colitis
Ischemic colitis occurs when blood flow is reduced to a portion of the colon. This stops the cells in our digestive system from receiving the oxygen they need – which is commonly caused by a narrowing or blockage of the arteries. Those who are over the age of 50, have high cholesterol or a clotting disorder may also be at a higher risk.
Ischemic colitis can affect any part of the colon, but patients typically experience gradual or sudden pain in the left side of the abdomen. Treatment for early-stage ischemic colitis involves intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration. If a sufficient amount of blood isn’t restored, surgery may be needed.
If similar symptoms are experienced on the right side, it may indicate a blocked artery to your small intestine – which may develop necrosis of the intestinal tissue.
Early Detection is Key
If you’re experiencing colon inflammation, you may suffer from abdominal pain, cramping or diarrhea. Treatment at home may include a clear fluid diet for 24 hours, rest and medication like Tylenol for pain management. If the symptoms subside, no further care is needed. However, if you’re still in pain, we recommend contacting your doctor and scheduling a virtual colonoscopy.
Our virtual colonoscopy at Advanced Body Scan f Tulsa is a fast, non-invasive test that doesn’t require anesthesia. Our GE Revolution scanner generates images while our high-performance software creates 3-D virtual views of the colon – similar to what’s seen in a conventional endoscopy.
To learn more about our virtual colonoscopy scan, we invite you to reach out to us at (918) 879-6161. Our team is here to answer any questions you may have.
Wondering What Doctors Are Looking for in a Colonoscopy?
In this free guide, we explain the key differences between a traditional endoscopy and a virtual colonoscopy. We also shed light on the five abnormalities doctors are looking for during your appointment. Click below to download your free copy of the guide now.