Part two of this two-part series takes a look at Colitis
Discussion of digestive health is often considered awkward and embarrassing and as a result individuals may not talk about troubling symptoms with their family or doctor. However, digestive ailments contribute to many hospital visits and even deaths every year.
November is Crohn’s and Colitis awareness month and is a perfect opportunity to begin conversations about digestive health.
Unlike Crohn’s disease which can occur anywhere along the digestive system, Colitis is characterized by inflammation localized in the colon (i.e. the large bowel, rectum and anus).
Symptoms of Colitis include:
- Flare-ups of severe and bloody diarrhea
- A false urge to use the bathroom (caused by inflammation of the rectum)
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- A decrease in appetite
- Unintended weight loss
- A mild fever
Treatment of colitis is often targeted to suspected causes (e.g. anti-inflammatory medications may be used if inflammation is suspected to largely contribute to symptoms).
Other treatment options include:
- Antibiotics for infectious colitis
- Immunosuppressants for autoimmune colitis (i.e. the body’s immune system is attacking the digestive system for an unknown reason)
- Medications such as Imodium to treat diarrhea and pain relievers to treat symptoms of pain
As with many other digestive conditions, nutritional deficiencies and dehydration may occur. It is important to maintain a healthy, balanced diet (with added vitamin and mineral supplementation if necessary) and stay hydrated.
For more information on Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness please visit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada.