Colitis refers to inflammation of the lining of the colon. Ulcerative, microscopic and ischemic colitis are the most common types of colitis. Complications and symptoms vary depending on the type of colitis.
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of colitis, meet with a skilled provider at UPMC. We offer treatment for all types of colitis in north central, Pa. To learn more, please call 570-321-3454, or Find a Provider at UPMC.
The main symptom of microscopic colitis is chronic diarrhea. This disease is referred to as microscopic because inflammation cannot be seen unless a tissue sample is examined under a microscope.
On the other hand, ischemic colitis symptoms are typically more sudden, rather than gradual.
In addition to diarrhea, symptoms include:
Ulcerative colitis symptoms are usually mild to moderate. Typically, doctors diagnose ulcerative colitis based on the location where symptoms are felt in the colon.
Depending on where colon inflammation occurs, you may experience the following symptoms:
The definitive cause of microscopic colitis is unknown, but experts believe bacteria, toxins or viruses may be the main culprits. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may also aggravate patients who already have colitis.
Ischemic colitis is caused when oxygen-rich blood flow is restricted from the colon. This can create a blockage in the colon. Patients who usually have ischemic colitis are elderly patients and those with vascular problems.
The causes of ulcerative colitis are not known. One theory suggests that a virus or bacterium may be responsible for interacting with the immune system, triggering a negative inflammatory reaction.
Microscopic and ulcerative colitis treatment depends on the severity and type of infection. Relief from microscopic colitis can occur with medication. In some cases, it can go away on its own. Ischemic colitis may be more serious and require hospitalization. IV fluids can then be administered to the patient to prevent infection. In more severe instances, the affected part of the colon may have to be removed.
Ulcerative colitis requires long-term medical care, which involves surgically removing the colon. Your doctor can diagnose ulcerative colitis based on a series of tests, a physical exam and your medical history.
The first series of tests are usually performed to determine whether you have ulcerative colitis or an infectious type of diarrhea. Following this, a colon evaluation is done. If a colitis disease is present, your doctor will run tests to see what type it is. Lab tests and fecal matter may also be tested early on.
Your doctor may also recommend two types of endoscopic tests:
The goal when treating ulcerative colitis is to help patients improve how their immune systems function.
Several medications exist to help ease the inflammation of the colon and reduce unpleasant symptoms.
These are the five major classes of medicines used to treat ulcerative colitis:
Combination therapy, additional therapy that works alongside initial therapy, may be recommended as well. A medical professional at UPMC can help you determine which type of medication is right for you.
Although foods don’t cause ulcerative colitis, certain foods can worsen symptoms. Spicy or high-fiber foods may cause discomfort, while softer, bland foods may be easier on the stomach. Talk with your doctor to find out which foods can help and which can hurt your health.
According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), about one-quarter to one-third of medication does not work on patients with ulcerative colitis. In these cases, surgery may be recommended, which involves the removal of the colon.
The gastroenterologists at UPMC specialize in diagnosing and treating colitis. To determine which course of treatment may work best, speak with a doctor at UPMC.
UPMC offers complete care for colitis in north central, Pa.