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
- Colitis facts
- What is colitis?
- What are the causes (types) of colitis?
- Infectious colitis
- Ischemic colitis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Microscopic colitis
- Allergic colitis in infants
- 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?
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
How is colitis treated?
The treatment of colitis depends upon the cause.
Initial therapy, regardless of the cause is to stabilize the patient's vital signs and helping control pain, if needed. Rehydration may occur by mouth, however, for those patients who are markedly dry, who are unable to tolerate fluids by mouth, or have 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 and often do not require antibiotics. Those decisions depend on the patient's diagnosis.
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 a dead (gangrenous) colon require surgery to remove the gangrenous segment.
Medically reviewed by Martin E Zipser, MD; American Board of Surgery
Longo DL. et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. McGraw-Hill Professional. 18th edition. 2011
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