Colitis symptoms depend on the type of colitis that is present. Colitis disease types are ulcerative, collagenous, lymphocytic, and diversion colitis.
Ulcerative colitis is the most common form of colitis and normally forms in individuals between the ages of 15 and 30.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammation of the large intestine which also erupts into spontaneous acute attacks (“flare-ups”) and results in bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever.
Ulcerative colitis typically affects the rectum and the lower portion of the large intestine (sigmoid colon) although the entire colon can be affected in some individuals (rarely the small intestine as well).
Ulcerative colitis symptoms:
- abdominal pain
- frequent urge to defecate (sometimes 10-20 per day)
- abdominal cramps
- blood and mucus in feces
- hard and dry feces ((if localized at rectum and sigmoid colon)
Common complications of ulcerative colitis disease are bleeding, colon cancer, cessation of normal contractile movements of the intestine, and other assorted tissue infections and inflammations.
Diagnosis is typically through physical examination and observation of symptoms. Tissue biopsy and colonoscopy (camera imaging of the colon) can be used to confirm diagnosis.
Treatment is typically aimed at relieving symptoms, controlling the inflammation, and rehydrating the individual. This is typically achieved through bed rest, diet regimen, antidiarrheal drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs and/or immune modulation.
Surgical intervention is needed in emergency cases (bleeding, perforation, rupture, etc.) or to relieve chronic severe forms of the disease. Complete surgical removal of the colon and rectum cures the disease.