Colitis is a term used to describe inflammation of the colon. The colon (large intestine or large bowel) is the organ responsible for collecting and storing the waste products of digestion. As with any other organ, the colon has a complex system of arteries responsible for maintaining itself through the delivery of oxygen-rich blood and nutrients.
There are a variety of things that can cause inflammation of the colon, including autoimmune reactions, infection and poor blood supply.
Some of the most common forms of colitis include:
- Infectious Colitis
- Ischemic (inadequate oxygen supply) Colitis
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Microscopic Colitis
- Chemical Colitis
Symptoms of colitis will depend upon the type of colitis that is present, but in general, colitis most often is associated with abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Other symptoms of colitis that may or may not be present include:
- Blood in the bowel movement (diarrhea can sometimes cause hemorrhoids, which can also bleed and may be confused with blood in the bowel movement ).
- Tenesmus, or a constant urge to have a bowel movement.
- Abdominal pain that may come in waves, building to diarrhea, and then waning.
- Sometimes constant pain.
- Fever, chills and other signs of infection and inflammation that may be present depending upon the cause of colitis