Colitis is swelling (inflammation) of the large intestine (colon).
Colitis can have many different causes, including:
Symptoms can include:
The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms, including:
The health care provider can diagnose colitis by inserting a flexible tube into the rectum (flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy) and evaluating specific areas of the colon. Biopsies taken during these tests may show changes related to inflammation.
Other studies that can identify colitis include:
Treatment is directed at the cause of disease (infection, inflammation, lack of blood flow, or another cause).
See the conditions listed above for specific recommendations.
The prognosis varies with each disease. See particular conditions listed above.
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms such as:
Prevention depends upon the cause of colitis. See the specific condition.
Updated by: George F Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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