Colitis is a fairly common disease that affects mainly people of mature age. This is an extremely unpleasant disease that significantly impairs the quality of human life. If untreated, the inflammatory process can lead to a lot of unpleasant consequences.
That is why people are often interested in the question of what constitutes such a disease. What are the first symptoms of inflammation? When should I see a doctor immediately? What treatment does modern medicine offer? Are there any means of prevention? This information will be useful to many readers. So, next we consider different types of intestinal colitis and their treatment.
What is colitis?
Colitis is an inflammatory disease that affects the mucous membranes of the large intestine. According to statistics, most men from 40 to 60 years suffer from this disease, and in women the age threshold is even lowered: among the patients even twenty years old appear.
Today there are many varieties of this disease. The reasons for it may be different. For the most part, the inflammatory process is associated with the activity of bacterial microorganisms and viruses. Risk factors also include abnormalities in the immune system, insufficient blood supply to the intestinal tissues (observed with increased pressure, vascular spasm, diabetes, atherosclerosis), as well as unhealthy diet (fiber deficiency), bad habits (smoking), the presence of infections in other departments digestive system. In addition, there is a certain genetic predisposition.
In most cases, colitis responds fairly well to medical treatment, especially if therapy was started in a timely manner. That is why it is important to know about the main causes and first symptoms of the disease.
The main types of intestinal colitis and their causes
Unfortunately, this disease can not be called rare. Not surprisingly, many patients are interested in additional information about the disease. One of the most frequent questions: “What is ulcerative colitis of the intestine?” Symptoms, treatment and causes of pathology also do not stand aside. However, it is worth knowing that there are dozens of different forms of intestinal inflammation and several commonly used classification systems.
For example, depending on the course of the disease, acute severity (symptoms are pronounced and appear quickly, intestinal inflammation is often associated with gastritis or enteritis) and chronic colitis (symptoms subside, then worsen).
Depending on the location of the inflammatory process, such forms as proctitis (inflammation of the rectum), sigmoiditis (affected sigmoid colon), transversitis (transverse colon) and typhlitis (inflammation of the cecum) are isolated. In some cases, the mucous membrane of the entire large intestine is inflamed – a similar condition is called pancolith. In addition, the simultaneous defeat of several departments is possible.
Depending on the causes of the disease, it is customary to distinguish the following types of it:
- Infectious colitis. Develops against the background of bacterial microflora activity. The disease can be caused by streptococci or staphylococci. An infection can enter the digestive system from the outside, for example, colitis develops against the background of dysentery. In addition, inflammation occurs against the background of a decrease in the activity of the immune system, as a result of which intensive reproduction of conditionally pathogenic microflora begins.
- Ischemic colitis. It develops in the event that the normal blood supply of the large intestine is disrupted, which is observed, for example, in atherosclerosis of the branches of the abdominal aorta.
- People with chronic radiation sickness develop so-called radiation colitis.
- There is also a toxic form of colitis, which is caused by exposure to toxins or drugs. For example, quite often to the inflammation of the intestinal mucosa and other organs of the digestive tract leads to the uncontrolled intake of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Quite common and dangerous is ulcerative colitis, which is accompanied by the formation of ulcers on the intestinal walls. Unfortunately, the exact etiology of this disease is unknown – the scientists managed to find out that the autoimmune process, genetic heredity and certain infectious agents play a role in the formation of the disease.
Naturally, there are other classification schemes, as well as forms of inflammation. For example, colitis may develop on the background of allergies. In addition, erosion of the mucous membrane or its gradual atrophy may develop in parallel.
What symptoms are accompanied by acute colitis?
As you can see, there are all kinds of intestinal colitis. Symptoms of acute forms for the most part look the same, regardless of the form of the disease, so you should get acquainted with them.
Often, an acute inflammatory process begins with a rise in temperature and signs of general intoxication of the body. In particular, patients complain of weakness, body aches, muscle pain, headache, loss of appetite, chills.
There are more specific symptoms that accompany colitis. How is this disease treated? Primarily impaired by the digestive system. In particular, many patients complain of severe sharp abdominal pain, especially in the navel. Often, any meals are accompanied by rumbling, bloating.
A feature of the inflammation of the colon are constant diarrhea – acts of bowel movements increase up to 5-6 times a day. Often, patients feel the urge immediately after a meal, in the morning or even wake up at night. Fecal masses, as a rule, are relatively liquid and fetid, which is associated with the activity of intestinal bacteria.
There are some fairly dangerous symptoms of ulcerative colitis. In particular, in the presence of serious damage to the mucous membrane, the appearance of blood impurities in the fecal masses is possible. If unchanged blood appears constantly, it is necessary to tell the doctor about it.
Chronic colitis and features of its course
Chronic intestinal colitis is a rather dangerous disease. The periods of exacerbation are replaced by periods of relative calm, when a person feels normal, therefore he does not think that he needs medical assistance. Moreover, the chronic form of the disease is much more difficult to treat.
This disease is also accompanied by impaired digestion. Patients often suffer from problems with the stool – diarrhea is often replaced by constipation, and vice versa. Sometimes the act of defecation is accompanied by abdominal pain. In addition, the inflammatory process can spread to other parts of the digestive system.
It should be noted that in the absence of treatment, gradual changes are observed in all organ systems. Sick people lose their appetite, resulting in weight loss. In addition, food is not completely digested, which gradually leads to the development of anemia, hypo-and avitaminosis, disruption of the normal balance of electrolytes, depletion. The disease affects the emotional state of the person – there is depression, worsening of mood, irritability, sleep problems, constant fatigue. Therefore, in no case should we ignore the problem.
Modern diagnostic methods
What to do if you are worried about symptoms resembling colitis? What to do in such cases? Of course, first of all you need to go to the doctor. The fact is that other, more serious diseases, including cancer, can be masked under the same symptoms.
To begin, the doctor must collect a full history. He will certainly ask about the symptoms present, their intensity, the time of occurrence, etc. These facts are very important, so be sure to provide the specialist with all the necessary information.
Further standard inspection follows. The doctor will palpate the abdomen to detect abnormally enlarged organs. If colitis is suspected, a rectal examination is necessary, during which a specialist can quickly detect swelling or a tumor in the rectum.
The patient is also required to undergo blood tests (for the detection of an inflammatory process, latent bleeding, bleeding disorders) and feces (it is possible to detect an infection or blood impurities). The results of laboratory studies in this case are very informative.
If necessary, appointed sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy – these studies help to carefully examine the mucous membrane of the large intestine. If the causes of colitis cannot be determined, or there is a suspicion of the presence of a malignant process, a biopsy is performed during the examination – tissue sampling with further laboratory examination of samples.
There are some other studies that help not only detect colitis, but also assess the degree of mucosal damage, find out the localization of the inflammatory process, etc. For example, X-ray examination with barium enema allows the doctor to study the features of the anatomy and assess the condition of the large intestine. Often, patients are recommended and computed tomography, which allows a specialist to make a specific diagnosis, assessing features of the inflammatory process.
In any case, in the process of diagnosis it is important not only to find out whether the patient has colitis. The reasons, the extent of the lesion, the site of localization, the stage of development are all not less important points, on which the choice of treatment regimen directly depends.
What to do after you have been diagnosed with colitis? How to treat it, only the doctor knows, so in no case should you try to deal with the problem yourself. The choice of drugs depends on the cause of the disease.
For example, in the case of an infectious form of the disease, antibacterial agents should be taken. Treatment of ulcerative colitis of the intestine involves the use of a whole complex of drugs. In particular, aminosalicylates and glucocorticoids (hormonal substances that suppress the inflammatory process) are used.
If an autoimmune reaction is suspected, cytostatics are used – drugs that inhibit the activity of the immune system. Quite often, patients are prescribed “Mercaptopurin”, “Methotrexan”, “Azathioprine” and other drugs.
Naturally, an important part is the symptomatic treatment. In the presence of severe pain, analgesics are prescribed to help relieve the patient’s condition. Antispasmodic drugs, in particular “Papaverine” and “No-Spa”, help to return the normal intestinal motility. In the presence of severe diarrhea, loperamide or other antidiarrheal agents are prescribed. The presence of bleeding requires the use of hemostatic drugs, for example, Tranexam or Ditsinona.
In some cases, additional activities are required. For example, for patients with severe digestive disorders, intravenous administration of nutrients is indicated. Persistent diarrhea can lead to dehydration, so minerals are administered to patients to help maintain fluid and electrolyte balance.
Immediately it is worth noting that the decision on hospitalization is made by a doctor. In mild cases, home treatment is possible, but only if all recommendations of the attending specialist are followed. If the patient is in serious condition (intestinal bleeding, dehydration, exhaustion), then he must be constantly under the supervision of medical personnel – such rehabilitation therapy can be carried out only in the hospital.
When is surgery necessary?
Unfortunately, conservative treatment of ulcerative colitis of the intestine (or any other types of this disease) is not always effective enough. In such cases, surgery is required.
The indication for surgery is the ineffectiveness of drug therapy in severe forms of the disease. In addition, the surgical procedure is carried out in the event that the patient develops so-called “emergency” conditions that are life-threatening. In particular, these are toxic dilatation, the onset of malignant tissue degeneration, as well as intestinal perforation, massive bleeding, etc.
Quite often, radical procedures are carried out in which the large intestine is completely removed. In some cases, doctors impose a permanent ileostomy on the anterior abdominal wall for emptying, while maintaining the bowel stump. Unfortunately, such treatment leads to a loss of ability to anal defecation, as a result of which patients become disabled. Partial removal of the intestine is also carried out, but among patients there is a very high percentage of relapse development.
How are chronic forms of the disease treated?
Unfortunately, getting rid of chronic inflammation is very difficult. Therefore, the therapy in this case is symptomatic, and it is aimed at maintaining the normal functioning of the intestine and preventing complications.
During periods of exacerbation, which, by the way, are accompanied by almost the same symptoms as acute forms, patients are prescribed anti-inflammatory, antidiarrheal, painkillers. It is also extremely important to provide the body with the necessary amount of fluid to prevent dehydration.
During periods of remission, the right diet comes to the forefront of therapy. In particular, it is necessary to exclude products that irritate the intestinal mucosa. In addition, doctors recommend eating only warm food (the same applies to drinks). But during exacerbations, the diet should be more stringent. In addition, some doctors prescribe to patients the occasional intake of vitamin-mineral complexes that help prevent the development of avitaminosis, as well as normalize the immune system.
Proper diet is an important part of therapy.
Today, many people are wondering what the ulcerative colitis of the intestines really is. We have already discussed the symptoms, treatment and causes of this disease. But you should also understand that an essential part of therapy is proper nutrition. Moreover, in severe forms of the disease and in chronic inflammatory processes, a special diet must be observed even after the end of the course of treatment.
Colitis is an inflammation of the intestines, which, respectively, affects the processes of digestion. That is why the diet for such a disease must necessarily be benign. First of all, it should be noted that all dishes should be either steamed or boiled (the diet can be slightly varied baked food). Patients are advised to use fractional meals – they often need to eat (sometimes up to 7-8 times a day), but in small portions in order to prevent stagnation and fermentation of food in the large intestine. By the way, the last meal should be no later than 7 pm.
It is necessary to include in the diet a sufficient amount of animal protein – it can be eggs, lean meats (for example, poultry, veal, rabbit), but in no case fried dishes.
There are some categories of foods that irritate the intestinal mucosa, which leads to an increase in symptoms. Such food from the diet should be completely eliminated. In particular, patients are forbidden to eat fatty meat, raw vegetables (fiber, of course, necessary, but the vegetables need to boil), as well as legumes, corn, mushrooms, spices. The menu should not contain fried, fatty and salty dishes. Forbidden products also include sunflower seeds, soda, alcohol, dried apricots and prunes.
If the patient does not suffer from overweight, then the diet must be high-calorie (at least 2-3 thousand kcal per day) in order to avoid sudden weight loss.
Intestinal colitis: treatment of folk remedies
Of course, many people are interested in questions about whether there are any other ways to get rid of this disease. Is it possible to cure, for example, ulcerative colitis at home?
Treatment of folk remedies, of course, there is. But here you need to be very careful. Firstly, before starting any home remedy, you should consult with your doctor – only he can assess the possible benefit or harm.
In most cases, folk healers recommend taking a decoction of chamomile, sage and centaury. To prepare it you need to take one teaspoon of dry herbs of each plant, mix and pour a glass of boiling water. After the herbs are infused, the liquid can be drained. It is recommended to take one tablespoon every two hours. The duration of treatment should be at least a month – only then the apparent results of such therapy will begin to manifest.
There are other recipes. For example, with colitis, dried watermelon peels are considered beneficial. 100 g of crusts need to pour 400 ml of boiling water and let it brew. You need to drink half a glass from 4 to 6 times a day. In addition, you can cook a decoction of pomegranate peels. 2 g of dry crusts need to pour a glass of water and simmer for half an hour. It is recommended to take two tablespoons twice a day.
In any case, it is tedious to understand that the folk treatment of colitis is possible only as an auxiliary method and in no case can replace a full-fledged drug therapy.
Colitis is a very common inflammatory disease, and, unfortunately, there are currently no specific preventive measures. Naturally, you can follow certain rules that will help reduce the risk of developing the disease. In particular, you need to carefully monitor the quality of the food and water you use, follow all the rules of cooking, adhere to basic sanitary and hygienic standards, wash your hands before eating, etc.
Since the development of colitis is often associated with improper immune response of the body, you need to take care of the state of the immune system. An integral part of any prophylaxis is a proper diet rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as feasible physical activity.
It has been proven that some types of colitis develop much more often on the background of insufficient blood circulation, therefore it is extremely important to observe the prevention of diseases such as atherosclerosis and hypertension, as well as to give up smoking.
In the presence of the first warning signs, you should immediately consult a doctor: the sooner the disease is diagnosed and adequate therapy is started, the easier it will be to get rid of the disease without any serious complications.