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Dr. Kennedy Colitis is Inflammation of the large intestine (the colon). There are many forms of colitis, including ulcerative, Crohn's, infectious, pseudomembranous, and spastic. With the exception of infectious colitis, if treatment is to be curative, all other forms of colitis must be considered as a dysregulation of the immune system and its relationship with the gut flora and a constitutional sensitivity to certain foods which must be determined for each individual. Most treatment offered in American medicine is not curative, but palliative, is pharmaceutically based, and only aims to suppress symptoms. With that in mind, let us consider the different varieties of colitis.

Intermittent rectal bleeding, crampy abdominal pain and diarrhea can be symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Diagnosis can be made by barium enema, but direct visualization (sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy) is the most accurate test. Long-standing ulcerative colitis increases the risk for colon cancer. Ulcerative colitis can also be associated with inflammation in joints, spine, skin, eyes, the liver and its bile ducts.

Amebic colitis causes amebic dysentery with ulcers in the colon due to infection with an ameba (Entamoeba histolytica), a single-celled parasite transmitted to humans via contaminated water and food. "Ameba" comes from the Greek amoibe meaning "change" because amebae constantly change shape.

Crohn's colitis (aka granulomatous colitis) is a form of Crohn's disease which affects only the large intestine (colon). Crohn disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder, primarily involving the small and large intestine, but which can affect other parts of the digestive system as well. It is named for the doctor who first described the disease in 1932. The disease is usually diagnosed in persons in their teens or twenties, but can occur at any point in life. Crohn disease can be a chronic, recurrent condition or can cause minimal symptoms with or even without medical treatment. In mild forms, Crohn disease causes small scattered shallow crater-like areas (erosions) called aphthous ulcers in the inner surface of the bowel. In more serious cases, deeper and larger ulcers can develop, causing scarring and stiffness and possibly narrowing of the bowel, sometimes leading to obstruction. Deep ulcers can puncture holes in the bowel wall, leading to infection in the abdominal cavity (peritonitis) and in adjacent organs.

Mucus colitis is a common gastrointestinal disorder involving an abnormal condition of gut contractions (motility) characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, mucous in stools, and irregular bowel habits with alternating diarrhea and constipation, symptoms that tend to be chronic and to wax and wane over the years. Although the disorder can cause chronic recurrent discomfort, it does not lead to any serious organ problems. Treatment is directed toward relief of symptoms and includes changes in diet (eating high fiber and avoiding caffeine, milk products and sweeteners), exercise, relaxation techniques, and medications.

Pseudomembranous colitis is a severe inflammation of the inner lining of the colon due usually to the Clostridium difficile (C.difficile) bacterium. It is one of the most common causes of infection of the large bowel (colon) in the United States, affecting millions of patients yearly. Patients taking antibiotics are at risk of becoming infected with C. difficile. Antibiotics disrupt the natural bacteria of the bowel, allowing C. difficile bacteria to become established in the colon. Many persons infected with C. difficile bacteria have no symptoms. These people become carriers of the bacteria and can infect others. In some people, a toxin produced by C. difficile causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, severe inflammation of the colon (colitis), fever, an elevated white blood count, vomiting and dehydration. Rarely, the walls of the colon wear away and holes develop (colon perforation), which can lead to a life-threatening infection of the abdomen.

Spastic colitis is a common gastrointestinal disorder involving an abnormal condition of gut contractions (motility) characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, mucous in stools, and irregular bowel habits with alternating diarrhea and constipation, symptoms that tend to be chronic and to wax and wane over the years. Although the disorder can cause chronic recurrent discomfort, it does not lead to any serious organ problems. Treatment is directed toward relief of symptoms and includes changes in diet (eating high fiber and avoiding caffeine, milk products and sweeteners), exercise, relaxation techniques, and medications.



The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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