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What is Colon Inflammation?

By Helena Reimer
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Colon inflammation is commonly referred to as colitis, which is a condition where the mucosa, the inner lining of the colon becomes inflamed. The colon is also known as the large intestine, and it helps eliminate waste material from the body. Different types of colon inflammation include inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), microscopic colitis, ischemic colitis and infectious colitis. The inflammation might be the result of an autoimmune disorder, colon infection, a lack of blood supply or other unknown causes. Symptoms of an inflamed colon might include abdominal pain, weight loss and fatigue.

A case of colon inflammation is often caused by an autoimmune disorder such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Crohn's disease can affect any part of the digestive tract, whereas ulcerative colitis affects the rectum and sigmoid colon. Infectious colitis might be caused by harmful bacteria in food or water. Parasites can also cause an infection that might contribute to an inflamed colon.

Ischemic colitis is more commonly seen among the elderly. It is a condition in which the blood supply to the mucosa is restricted because of low blood pressure or constricted blood vessels. In severe cases, it can lead to complications such as gastrointestinal perforation or sepsis, which can spread the inflammation throughout the body.

The underlying cause of colon inflammation is not known. There are theories, however, that suggest that it might be hereditary. It has also been linked to a poor diet that is low in fiber, a lack of fluids, parasites, tobacco use and other toxic substances, such as chemicals.

Common signs and symptoms of colon inflammation include abdominal pain accompanied by cramping, bloating, diarrhea and bloody stools. Loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue and high fever are also commonly associated with an inflamed colon. It can be detected with a colonoscopy, a blood test or a stool sample. A patient history is also required in order to determine when the symptoms began and whether they are unremitting.

Treatment options for colon inflammation can vary from case to case, and the cause or type of inflammation usually dictates the type of treatment. In many cases, the patient is dehydrated, and thus the treatment is to rehydrate him or her either orally or intravenously. Antibiotics are commonly used in cases when the inflammation is the result of an infection, and autoimmune-related inflammation is treated with immune suppressants. Surgery might be necessary in severe cases.

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Discussion Comments
By anon336950 — On Jun 01, 2013

Does this mean it can turn to cancer?

By SarahGen — On Feb 28, 2013

Is anyone suffering from ulcerative colitis?

My husband has just been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and proctitis. It all happened very suddenly. He started getting constant diarrhea several weeks back. We realized it was serious when he said that his stools have blood and mucus.

The doctor has put him on several drugs and we'll be going back next week for another check up.

We would like to hear from people who have experienced this. What will the treatment period be like? Do you have any recommendations?

By candyquilt — On Feb 27, 2013

@burcidi-- There are many anti-inflammatory foods and herbs. Honey, fennel seeds, turmeric, green tea, wild salmon, aloe vera and blueberries all have anti-inflammatory properties.

But none of these are going to be an immediate cure for colitis. I think if there is a remedy for colitis, it's diet low in carbohydrates and high in fiber from fruits and vegetables. It certainly helps to support your diet with anti-inflammatory foods and herbs but that's just a small part of it.

And if there is an underlying cause like infection or an autoimmune disease, these remedies will do little for colon problems when the underlying cause isn't treated.

By burcidi — On Feb 27, 2013

Are there any natural anti-inflammatory remedies that can be used for inflammation of the colon?

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