Nov 17 2019

The Condition called Colitis: Part 1

Published by at 12:51 pm under probiotic supplements

The Condition called Colitis: Part 1

Many people suffer from this condition that has causes that are somewhat elusive.

Over the next few weeks, we are going to examine the condition called Colitis, which affects many people around the globe. Colitis is an inflammation of the colon, also referred to as the large intestine. It affects approximately 1.6 million Americans in some shape or form, primarily as Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Out of the 1.6 million people affected, 780,000 of them have Crohn’s disease and approximately 907,000 have Ulcerative Colitis. Approximately 6 to 15 new cases per 100,000 people each year are diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. (1,2)*

There are many different forms of colitis, including Infectious colitis, Ischemic colitis, Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s colitis, Microscopic Colitis, Diversion Colitis. Lymphocytic Colitis, Atypical Colitis, Fulminant Colitis, Collagenous Colitis, Chemical Colitis, and pseudomembranous colitis. Depending on the type, Colitis can be a temporary condition, or it can affect a person for years. In the more serious conditions, the causes can be unknown, with researchers trying to find the answers. (1,2)

Generally, the signs of colitis include abdominal pain, tenderness in the abdominal area, rapid weight loss, achy joints, loss of appetite and fatigue, or frequent, small bowel movements. In many cases, diarrhea is present, but in other cases there may be constipation. Blood in the stool is also common. 2*

 Types and Causes

 Not all forms of colitis are the same. What causes it varies just as the type of colitis people have varies. Understanding the cause helps to determine the treatment plan.

Infectious Colitis

Perhaps the most common type of colitis is infectious colitis, which is caused by viruses and bacteria entering the intestine. Usually a foodborne illness or food poisoning from salmonella, E. coli., shigella and Campylobacter cause it. These infections can cause diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, and serious dehydration.  Infectious diarrhea can also be caused by parasites from dirty water such as giardia which can affect both humans and pets. This can be from dirty drinking water, lakes, rivers and swimming pools. When your mother said, “don’t drink the water” there was a good reason!3*

Another type of infectious colitis is pseudomembranous colitis which is caused when antibiotic use has altered the delicate balance of the microbiome and there is an overgrowth of clostridium difficile or C. Diff.  This bacteria produces a toxin that causes diarrhea. While the diarrhea is usually not bloody, dehydration and fever can occur.   C. diff is helped with a strong regimen of Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ to repopulate the gut with friendly bacteria. (2,3)*

Ischemic Colitis

Just like other arteries in the body, the arteries that supply blood to the colon can become narrow as the result of atherosclerosis. Just like narrowing blood vessels in the heart can lead to angina, or narrowed blood vessels in the brain can cause a stroke, these arteries can restrict blood supply to the colon causing it to become inflamed and irritated. This same condition can occur as a result of a condition called volvulus, in which the bowel twists itself or there is an incarcerated hernia, in which a section of the colon gets trapped in an “outpouching” of the abdominal wall. These conditions can prevent blood from flowing to the affected portion of the colon. In these cases, ischemic colitis can occur. The result is serious pain, bloody bowel movements, and fever. 3*

Blood clots can also decrease blood flow to the bowel if they travel or embolize and block an artery to the colon.  “…Individuals who have the common heart rhythm disturbance, atrial fibrillation, are at risk of forming small clots in the heart, which break off and block the blood supply to the bowel. This is the same mechanism that can cause a stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack) if the blockage occurs in an artery that supplies the brain…”*3*

Microscopic Colitis

This uncommon condition known as Collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis occurs mainly in older women. While the cause is unknown, the autoimmune condition is the primary suspect. Known as microscopic colitis, the colon wall gets engorged with either lymphocytes or collagen causing it to get inflamed. The symptoms are watery, non-bloody diarrhea. 3*

 Chemical Colitis

Inflammation and damage can occur when chemicals are entered into the colon as in an enema. Inflammation of the mucosal lining of the colon is the result. 3*

Medication-associated colitis

Some prescription drugs as well as over the counter drugs can cause colitis. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), retinoic acid, mycophenolate, and ipilimumab are among the culprits. Ask your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of colitis if you are on any of these drugs. 3*

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Colitis

Inflammatory bowel disease falls into two categories…ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.

Thought to be an autoimmune disease, ulcerative colitis happens when the body’s own immune system attacks the colon, causing inflammation and small ulcers all along the colon. It begins in the rectum and can gradually spread throughout the colon. Abdominal pain and bloody bowel movements are the symptoms.

Crohn’s disease on the other hand, can involve any part of the digestive tract. It can start from the mouth, esophagus and stomach, and go through to the small and large intestine all the way to the rectum and anus. It has diseased areas known as skip lesions, which are interspersed throughout the digestive tract with healthy areas of tissue. (1,3)*

Symptoms

The symptoms of colitis vary depending on the type of colitis a person has, but generally, colitis is associated with abdominal pain and diarrhea. Symptoms may also include bloody diarrhea, , constipation, and cramping, Additionally, the constant urge to have a bowel movement, fever, chills and other signs of infection may also be present. In serious cases, loss of weight, fatigue, and fever are the result. 1,3)*

When to seek the help of a health care professional   

When it comes to the internal mechanisms of the body, it is important to seek the help of a health care professional for both preventative care (colonoscopy screening) and more specifically a gastroenterologist or internal medicine specialist if you think you have colitis. A diagnosis of colitis can be determined through a physical exam, reviewing patient history, a colonoscopy, laboratory and imaging tests. 1,3)*

Colonoscopies are an important way to screen diseases and conditions of the colon. It can help get a better picture, literally of the colon. Biopsies of the colon lining can be done to detect microscopic colitis and also to for cancer screening. If detected early, colon cancer is very treatable with great survival rates. Unfortunately, people put this important test off too often. “…Colonoscopy is an essential cancer screening test and is especially important for those patients who have had blood in their stool that can’t be explained by another diagnosis…”3*

A CT scan, or computerized tomography, can also be used to take an image of the colon and the rest of the abdomen. Different types of colitis have distinctive patterns that may help a radiologist recognize a specific diagnosis. 3*

If you are suffering from any of the following, it is important to seek medical care::

  • persistent diarrhea, (most bouts of diarrhea resolve themselves after a few hours…if it persists, there may be a problem)
  • blood in the stool
  • significant and lasting pain in the abdomen.
  • Signs of dehydration (decreased or dark urination, weakness, dizziness. dry eyes, mouth and skin.
  • fever, 1,3)*

What Is the Outlook for a Person With Colitis?

Understanding the causes of each type of colitis has led to a more targeted approach to therapy. Next time we will look at the treatment options for each type of colitis and steps for prevention.  In the meantime, we know that replenishing the digestive tract with healthy bacteria is key to prevention and remission for all types of colitis. So continue on with  Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ in order to keep the gut populated with the healthy bacteria we need for a strong immune system and to maintain a healthy digestive tract. 

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

www.bodybiotics.com

 

Resources:

  1. https://inflammatoryboweldisease.net › what-is-crohns-disease › statistics
  2. https://www.gwhospital.com/conditions-services/digestive-disorder-center/colitis
  3. https://www.emedicinehealth.com/colitis/article_em.htm
  4. https://gut.bmj.com/content/54/7/898


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