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"Swollen Colon"?

So we spoke about the nose yesterday . . . well . . . let's switch directions and go to the other end. What's up with the pain in our abdomen???

Today we talk about "Colitis"

"Colitis" is a chronic digestive disease characterized by inflammation of the inner lining of the colon. "Colitis" means the colon is inflamed or irritated and can be caused by many things such as infections from viruses or bacteria, loss of blood supply in the colon, IBD and invasion of the colon wall with collagen or lymphocytic white blood cells. These are all possible causes of an inflamed and "swollen colon".

So how do we know if we have it and what does colitis poop look like???

Well . . . Stool-related symptoms include diarrhea and bloody stool that may be bright red, pink or tarry. And the severity of bloody stools or diarrhea depends on the degree of inflammation and "ulceration" in the colon.

Now the good news is . . . most infections will resolve themselves with or without specific treatment and often do not require antibiotics. Yet just another reason we need our immune system functioning properly.

Okay . . . so next up . . . "Ulcerative colitis". This is an IBD (irritable bowel disease) that causes the colon (large intestine) to become red and swollen also. The redness and swelling can last for a few weeks or for several months. And "ulcerative colitis" always involves the last part of the colon.

But "Ulcerative colitis" is more severe than "colitis" because it is not caused by an infection and is lifelong.

So you ask . . . how do we get "ulcerative colitis" if it's not an infection???

Well . . . when the immune system tries to fight off an invading virus or bacterium like it normally would with "colitis" . . . an abnormal immune response causes the immune system to attack the cells in the digestive tract also. It's a miscommunication of cells and the immune system.

Now . . . Conventionals treatments for "ulcerative colitis" include medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressors and steroids to control inflammation and other symptoms of this condition. And in very severe cases . . . surgery to remove the colon and recum if medication doesn't prove effective.