Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
In this Article
- What is colitis?
- What are the causes (types) of colitis?
- Infectious colitis
- Ischemic colitis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Microscopic colitis
- What are the symptoms of colitis?
- When should I contact my doctor about colitis?
- How is colitis diagnosed?
- How is colitis treated?
- What is the prognosis for a patient with colitis?
- Colitis At A Glance
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
How is colitis treated?
The treatment of colitis depends on the cause.
Often the initial treatment no matter what the cause of colitis is to rehydrate the patient and assist with the control of pain. Rehydration may occur by mouth, however, in patient's who cannot tolerate fluids orally, are too dehydrated, or have severe electrolyte abnormalities, intravenous fluids may be required.
What is the prognosis for a patient with colitis?
Patients with infectious diarrhea tend to get better relatively quickly with supportive care. Most infections will resolve with or without specific treatment such as antibiotics.
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease probably will require lifelong treatment to help control their symptoms. The goal, as with any long term illness, is to allow the patient to live a normal life with minimal symptoms from the disease.
Patients with ischemic colitis need to minimize their risk factors for progressive narrowing of the arteries. These are the same risks as for heart disease, including controlling high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol; and stopping smoking. Patients with severe ischemia that leads to dead (gangrenous) colon require surgery to remove the gangrenous segment.
Colitis At A Glance
- Colitis is inflammation of the inner lining of the colon. It may cause
abdominal pain and diarrhea with or without bloody diarrhea. Fever may be
- There are numerous causes of colitis including infection, inflammatory
bowel disease, ischemic and microscopic colitis.
- Blood in the stool is never normal and should not be ignored.
- Depending upon the history and physical examination, further testing may be
required to find the cause of colitis.
- Treatment of colitis often is supportive and is aimed at maintaining adequate hydration and pain control while a diagnosis is being pursued.
Last Editorial Review: 3/10/2009
Viewers share their comments
- Submit »
Find out what women really need.