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ICD-10 K50 - K52
ICD-9 558
OMIM 191390
DiseasesDB 31340
MedlinePlus 001125
eMedicine ped/435
MeSH C06.405.205.265

Colitis is a digestive disease characterized by inflammation of the colon.

Common Misspellings: mucus collitis, mucus colitus, mucas colitis, mucas collitis, mucas colitus.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of colitis include pain, tenderness in the abdomen, fever, swelling of the colon tissue, bleeding, erythema (redness) of the surface of the colon, rectal bleeding, and ulcerations of the colon. Tests that show these signs are plain X-rays of the colon, testing the stool for blood and pus, sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy. Additional tests include stool cultures and blood tests, and blood chemistry tests. A high erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is one typical finding in acute exacerbations of colitis.


There are several types of colitis, including

A well known subtype of infectious colitis is pseudomembranous colitis, resulting from infection by a toxigenic strain of Clostridium difficile. Parasitic infections can also cause colitis.

Any colitis which has a rapid downhill clinical course is known as fulminant colitis. In addition to the diarrhoea, fever, and anaemia seen in colitis, the patient has severe abdominal pain and a clinical picture similar to septicemia with shock is present. Approximately half of those patients require surgery.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a separate disease which has been called spastic colitis or spastic colon. This name causes confusion since colitis is not a feature of irritable bowel syndrome. Autistic enterocolitis is a disputed medical entity but refers to a type of colitis found in patients with autism.


Treatment of colitis may include the administration of antibiotics and general anti-inflammatory medications such as Mesalamine or its derivatives; steroids, or one of a number of other drugs that ameliorate inflammation. Surgery is sometimes needed, especially in cases of fulminant colitis. Surgery usually takes the form of a process of removing the colon and bowel and creating a "pouch" with portions of the small intestine.

Some have found a change in diet to be effective at treating the symptoms of colitis, especially reducing the intake of carbohydrates. As well as carbohydrates, a reduction in lactose products, soft drinks and caffeine can help ease side effects.

See also


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