WHAT IS COLITIS?

It is an irritation or inflammation that occurs in the lining of the colon (the large intestine). It can be autoimmune or infectious. Colitis is one of the inflammatory bowel diseases alongside the following:

  • Inflammation of the rectum (proctitis)

  • Inflammation of the small intestine (enteritis)

Sometimes these health conditions are connected, one can lead to the other.

CAUSES OF COLITIS DISEASE

  • Allergies

  • Infections: Some kinds of bacteria, e.g., shigella, salmonella, escherichia coli. Etc.

  • A limited supply of blood in the colon

SYMPTOMS OF COLITIS DISEASE

  • Fatigue

  • Stomach pain

  • Blood in the stool

  • Dehydration

  • Fever

  • Skin irritation

  • Weight loss

  • Mouth ulcer

  • Cramping

  • Vomiting

  • Nausea

  • Chronic IBD

Types of colitis disease

There are several types of colitis, they are grouped according to what causes them which includes;

  • Infectious enterocolitis

  • Cytomegalovirus colitis (this is an infection of the colon)

  • Ischemic colitis

  • Ulcerative colitis

  • Crohn’s disease

  • Pseudomembranous colitis

  • Lymphocytic colitis

  • Clostridium difficile

  • Allergic colitis in infants

  • Microscopic colitis

Asides the above-mentioned types of colitis diseases, we have the three common types, that are widely known;

Ulcerative colitis

It is one of the most harmful inflammatory bowel diseases. it destroys the digestive tract by causing ulcer and inflammation. It deeply affects the colon as well as the rectum, and it is caused by an overactive immune system and other factors. The sore caused by the ulcer typically endures for a very long period.

Although ulcerative colitis has no visible cure, it is better to seek treatment early to minimize symptoms which can sometimes be life-threatening.

A patient will sometimes experience the following signs and symptoms;

  • Fever

  • Weight loss

  • Stomach pain

  • Cramping

  • Bloody diarrhea: A patient might experience bloody diarrhea if the colitis is located close to the rectum or sigmoid (lower end of the colon). It can often result in a lot of irritation or be inflamed.

  • Rectal bleeding: Occurs when the inflammation is located close to the anus.

People who have a family history of ulcerative colitis are more at risk of having this disease. Hence, it is safe to say that the disease is hereditary or genetic. Research shows that the chance of having ulcerative colitis begins at or before the age of 30. However, it can start at any age.

Possible complications from not treating ulcerative colitis include;

  • Liver problems/disease

  • Colon cancer (cancer that eats up the large intestine)

  • Skin irritation

  • Bleeding

  • Joint pain

  • Blood clotting

  • Red eyes. Etc.

Crohn’s disease

It is a form of inflammatory bowel disease that inflames the linings of the digestive tract. It is a lifetime complication that should not be left unattended.

The following signs and symptoms of Crohn’s diseases. Symptoms depend on the type of Crohn’s disease similar to ulcerative colitis.

Ileocolitis is a type of Crohn’s disease that affects the terminal ileum, and the colon. A patient might have the following symptoms

  • Visible weight loss

  • Abdominal pain (lower or middle part)

  • Stooling

  • Cramping

Gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease majorly affects the duodenum and the stomach. The duodenum is the first part of the small intestine immediately beyond the stomach. Symptoms include;

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight loss

  • Irritation

  • Stomach upset

  • Vomiting

Jejunoileitis affects the jejunum which is located in the middle of the three parts of the small intestine. To precise, it is between the duodenum and ileum. The three sections that make up the small intestine. When it gets inflamed, the following signs and symptoms may occur;

  • Serious cramps immediately after eating

  • Diarrhea.etc.

Just like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease can start at any point in one’s life. Oftentimes, it is diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 30. Having this disease is based on your genetic history.

Indeterminate colitis

A person is said to have indeterminate colitis when it is hard to determine if it is Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. The patient often has the symptoms of both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The treatment is given based on which of the two known diseases symptoms the patient has more frequently. The doctors are always uncertain of the diagnoses when dealing with this type of patients

Symptoms may sometimes include;

  • Fever

  • Severe abdominal pains

  • Weakness

  • Loss of appetite

  • Rectum bleeding

  • Serious diarrhea

  • Continuous weight loss

  • Cramping. Etc.

IS COLITIS CONTAGIOUS OR NOT?

We have contagious colitis, as well as the non-contagious ones. Here is the list of the non-contagious sets of colitis disease below;

  • Microscopic colitis

  • Pseudomembranous colitis

  • Crohn’s disease

  • Necrotizing enterocolitis

  • Ischemic colitis

  • Allergic colitis

  • Contagious colitis

Most bacterial, parasitic, fungal, and viral colitis are infectious. They can be transferred by touching infected items, or by eating or drinking contaminated foods or drinks.

Infectious colitis

Infectious colitis is the result of viruses, bacterial and parasites in the colon inflaming the large intestine and causing irritation

Signs and symptoms of infectious colitis are;

  • Headache

  • Body ache

  • Fever

  • Abdominal pain

  • Bloating

  • Diarrhea

  • Dizziness

  • Weight loss

  • Lesser urge to urinate

  • Faster heartbeats

Mode of contact

  • Physical or body contact with an infected person

  • Poor personal hygiene

  • Eating contaminated foods

  • Drinking contaminated fluids

  • Dirty environments

  • Weak immune system

Precautions to be taken to avoid getting infected include;

  • Do not eat raw kinds of seafood, like oysters, prawns, or crabs.

  • Wash your hands with antibacterial soaps and clean water.

  • Sanitize your hands with antibacterial hand sanitizers.

  • Cook your meat properly.

  • Wash dishes on time after use, dry, and place in clean storage.

  • Refrigerate your foods, both cooked and uncooked as it helps kill bacteria.

  • Drink clean water often to avoid dehydration

Note: If you have any of the above-mentioned symptoms, please call the attention of your doctor for immediate attention and treatments.

COLITIS SYMPTOMS IN ANIMALS (DOG)

There are differences between the body system of a dog and that of a man. Nevertheless, they both exhibit almost the same symptoms when it comes to colitis.

Symptoms of colitis in dogs are;

  • Blood, mucus in feces

  • Vomiting

  • Constant urge to defecate

  • Restlessness etc.

Causes of colitis in dogs

  • Infections

  • Stress

  • Eating contaminated foods

  • Parasites.

COLITIS DIAGNOSIS.

  • Rectal examination: This is an examination of the rectum (bottom). It is been done by insertion of the fingers to check for possible problems in the anus. The examination process is most times needed to examine problems like constipation, loose bowel, bleeding through the bottom, and so on.

  • Radiographs: A radiograph is an image of the internal body gotten through the use of X-ray, gamma-ray, or any other radiation. It is taken to view the internal body system.

  • Fecal cultures: A laboratory test where a sample of feces is tested for the kind bacteria present in the system that can cause gastrointestinal diseases.

  • Ultrasound evaluation of the abdomen: Examining the pains in the abdomen to assess the status of other organs like the kidneys, gallbladder, pancreas, liver, and intestines bile duct.

  • Biopsy: A biopsy is majorly used to diagnose colitis by removing a tiny part of the tissue of the affected area to discover the major cause of the disease and severity.

FOODS TO EAT AND AVOID AS A COLITIS PATIENT.

Colitis has no cure as of today, but there are treatments and restrictions to follow to reduce the rate of occurring symptoms. Minding what you eat is imperative. Although there is no special diet plan, taking note of the food you eat will help stop certain symptoms.

Foods to avoid as an ulcerative colitis patient are;

  • Dairy foods can be a threat to those who allergic to lactose as it can cause bloating.

  • Alcohol is not advisable as it can irritate the intestine leading to stooling. Although it might go well with some patients, they should consider their wellbeing.

  • Avoid eating foods that are really high in fiber like beans, legumes, peas, etc.

  • Don’t eat your food when it is too hot to avoid inflammation.

  • Avoid eating fatty foods, like meat, pork, chicken, or turkey that are not grilled.

  • Avoid any food or drink that has caffeine in it regardless of the content level.

  • Avoid foods that are high in gluten, a kind of protein that causes inflammation in some people.

  • Avoid eating some vegetables, because they do not digest easily, and can lead to constipation, for example, broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, onions, celery, etc.

  • Avoid eating millets as they don’t digest easily.

  • Avoid using too much pepper. It widens the sore on the colon and can worsen symptoms.

  • Avoid foods or fruits that may have sugar alcohols (sorbitols, xylitol) in them. Foods like candies, some fruit juices, iced cream, etc.

  • Avoid foods that have a Sulphur such as shrimps, chicken, turkey, liver, soya beans, white beans, prawns.

  • Avoid butter, mayonnaise, and margarine.

SAFE DIETS/FOODS FOR ULCERATIVE COLITIS PATIENTS

Safe foods that can be eaten without causing inflammation or irritation to the intestines are vital to the health of any colitis patient. Managing colitis requires knowing the diets that go well with one’s body as symptoms and reactions differ across patients.

Below are foods that can help in the management of colitis:

  • Put yourself on a low fiber diet. Meaning, you stay away from all foods that have high fiber content. It helps reduce pains in the abdomen.

  • A gluten-free diet, eliminate all desires to eat some certain proteinous foods, like wheat, barley, and many more.

  • A lactose-free diet.

  • Stick to a low-fat diet. It helps to reduce some symptoms like bloating, excess gas, and so on. Fatty foods can trigger inflammation.

  • Too much salt intake can cause water retention. So it is advisable to be on a low salt diet.

  • Eat more of skinless turkey chicken and fish.

  • Eat cooked vegetables for easy digestion (low fiber vegetables).

  • low FODmap diet: FODMAPs is an acronym for, fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.

BEST FOODS FOR CROHN’S DISEASE PATIENTS

Ulcerative and Crohn’s disease dos and don’ts are quite similar. But, there are differences. Below are some of the dos and don’ts for Crohn disease.

  • Take low fiber fruits like watermelon, banana, in summary, ripen fruits. They are easily digested and help control stooling or diarrhea.

  • Fruit juices are also good because the fruits are now in easy to digest liquid form.

  • The presence of omega-3 fatty acids makes it safe to eat oily fishes as it is very essential in the body. It helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and fights against inflammation. Tuna, sardines, and mackerel are good examples of oily fishes.

  • Foods rich in vitamins A and D are very essential because these are the vitamin deficiencies common with Crohn” disease patients. Foods like eggs and soy can nerve as supplements.

  • Yogurts help to reduce inflammation.

  • Green tea is better compared to coffee which has caffeine and sugary drinks.

FOODS TO AVOID AS A CROHN”S DISEASE PATIENT

  • Coffee or any other caffeine drinks of foods

  • Alcohols

  • Harmful fatty foods, like margarine

  • Uncooked vegetables

  • Unpeeled fruits

  • Foods with sugar alcohols

  • Broccoli, cauliflower and some other vegetables (cruciferous vegetables

  • Red meat

  • Spicy foods

  • Soda

  • Popcorn etc. An indeterminate colitis patient should adhere to the dos and don’ts of both ulcerative colitis and Crohn”s disease. It is better to be safe than sorry.

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