What is Chronic Colitis and What Are Its Symptoms?
Chronic colitis refers to inflammation of the colon (a part of the large intestine), lasting from months to years, and appearing as:
- Abdominal (stomach) pain or cramping
- Diarrhea (loose bowel movements) or constipation
- Sometimes: low grade fever, blood in the stool, skin rash, mouth ulcers
Causes of Chronic Colitis
Causes of chronic colitis include:
- Crohn’s colitis (Crohn’s disease), an autoimmune disorder, usually appearing in adolescents or young adults
- Ulcerative colitis, that is (beside Crohn’s disease) a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Ischemic colitis due to impaired blood supply to the colon, usually affecting persons after 50 with diabetes or atherosclerosis
- Microscopic (lymphocitic/collagenous) colitis
- Eosinophilic colitis
How Is Chronic Colitis Diagnosed?
From the history of long term stomach pain that typically appear on the right or the left side of the stomach, diarrhea, blood in the stool, and appearance of long term stomach problems of family members, a doctor may suspect chronic colitis. To confirm diagnosis, doctor will likely order:
- Blood test
- Stool test
- X-ray of the abdomen (stomach) with barium enema
- CT of the abdomen
Treatment of Chronic Colitis
Treatment of chronic colitis depends on the cause (see above), and includes diet, anti-inflammatory drugs, and when necessary, surgery.
Article reviewed by Dr. Greg. Last updated on April 23, 2011