Colon diseases

What Causes Colitis in Adults

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
What Causes Colitis in Adults

Colitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the lining of the colon, which is located at the end of the large intestine connected to the rectum. It may be caused by different factors. It mainly manifests as abdominal pain accompanied by swelling and changes in bowel movements, which could range from diarrhea to constipation. To cure it, you need to see a doctor and receive appropriate treatment, as well as follow a healthy diet, a good lifestyle, avoid bad habits and, above all, stress and anxiety. Read this OneHowTo article to discover in detail what causes colitis in adults, the symptoms and steps to take to improve your health.

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  1. What causes colitis
  2. Colitis symptoms
  3. Treatment for colitis

What causes colitis

Although the cause of colitis is unclear, it is important to note that there are different types of colitis because inflammation of the large intestine or colon is caused by various factors. With this in mind, the numerous factors that could cause colitis are detailed below:

  • Acute and/or chronic infections caused by viruses, bacteria, toxins and/or parasites. This also includes food poisoning.
  • Inflammatory disorders such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease are possibly caused due to infectious agents that are mistakenly activated in the immune system, allergic reactions, stress and environmental factors. Ulcerative colitis is characterised by inflammation that manifests in the inner colon wall and the appearance of lesions or ulcers.
  • When there is a lack of blood flow, this is called ischemic colitis.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome, is characterized by symptoms such as changes in bowel habits, abdominal swelling and pain, gas, nausea and vomiting. It is also called nervous colitis and it may manifest due to high levels of stress or anxiety experienced by the patient.
  • Radiation therapy on the large intestine in patients suffering from cancer.
  • The use of certain medications. Taking drugs such as antibiotics or anti-inflammatories may lead to inflammation of the colon mucous, causing what is known as pseudomembranous colitis.
What Causes Colitis in Adults - What causes colitis

Colitis symptoms

Colitis symptoms can vary from patient to patient depending on the type of colitis in question, and may also appear gradually or suddenly, with a lesser or greater intensity. Usually, when the colon becomes inflamed, people affected may experience symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal swelling and pain.
  • Gases.
  • Bloody deposits in stools.
  • Continuous desire for bowel movements.
  • Signs of dehydration.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Constipation.
  • Shivers.
  • Fever.

When faced with any of these symptoms or any suspected manifestation of colitis, it is vital for you to go to the doctor as soon as possible, so that thorough and timely treatment can be started promptly. You should also seek urgent medical consultation if abdominal pain does not improve with the passing of time, stools contain blood or are really dark, diarrhea and vomiting does not stop and if the abdomen is very swollen.

What Causes Colitis in Adults - Colitis symptoms

Treatment for colitis

If you suffer from colitis, treatment must be determined by a doctor based on the factor or factors which may be causing inflammation. So once you've visited a specialist, it is essential you follow any instructions regarding adequate medication and lifestyle from that moment onwards.

In addition to medical treatment, colitis patients should make significant changes to their lifestyle and adopt measures, such as those detailed below, to improve their health and relieve the symptoms of this condition.

  • To improve your well-being and avoid making colitis worse, following a healthy diet is fundamental. For this reason, we recommend you consume more fibre, eat small portions throughout the day, and avoid any intake of food that causes flatulence, spicy foods, red meat, fatty foods, dairy products and alcoholic or caffeinated beverages. Find out more information in our article on what to eat if I suffer from colitis.
  • Drink plenty of water during the day and supplement it by consuming other healthy liquids such as teas or juices.
  • Linseed is a good natural remedy for colitis, as it helps to combat bloating and regulate the intestinal transit. Add 1 small spoonful of linseed to a cup of water, leave them to sit overnight and the next morning, strain and drink the preparation.
  • Apply hot compresses to the abdominal region when the colitis pain is very intense and you need relief.
  • Avoid stressful situations and try to learn to relax in your daily life. You can practice disciplines such as yoga or pilates, breathing exercises, physical exercise, visit a physical therapist to give you a relaxing massage... whatever it takes to reduce tension and promote your wellbeing.

If you want to discover more natural remedies like these, please consult our article on home remedies to treat colitis.

What Causes Colitis in Adults - Treatment for colitis

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What Causes Colitis in Adults, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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What did you think of this article?
After a colonoscopy age 65 I could hardly digest anything. I lost weight but since then, I am back by to my normal weight. It took about two years. I gave myself an enema when needed. I drank a cup of goat milk 3 times a day. I ate soaked overnight dried figs or prunes for breakfast and warm bland homemade vegetable well cooked soups. No beans, legumes, raw vegetables, or fruits, no salt, no spices. Be sure to shake the container of goat mikk as the fat settles to the bottom. I also purchased powdered goat milk mineral whey from Mt. Capra, in Washington state. I mixed it into smoothies or you can stir it into cold or warm drinks.
CHARLES W. Sharpe, Sr.
I am my wife's caregiver and she has been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. The disease was just diagnosed after 2-3 weeks of pain in her stomach and a colonoscopy with a week in the hospital. Her age is 78 and I have just realized how serious her situation is and her diarrhea is affecting her. She was released to a nursing home for "therapy". She stayed there for 2-days and requested to come home. Does this sound right...Therapy? I would like for you to give me some advice. Thank you !!
OneHowTo Editor
Hello Charles,

Firstly we are sorry to hear of the troubling situation. Secondly, we are unsure what type of therapy they would mean. However, UC has various treatments, usually a combination of reducing symptoms and medications which can maintain remission. There are many factors and it is possible that she has been taken in to lessen the chances of side-effects. However, we do not know any of this, only a qualified physician who is treating her will know. You need to speak to them and find out their reasons.
Edmond Plante
can ulcerative colitis become cancerous?
Can Formalahide in the treatment of leather cause Colitis or Cancer?
Can Formalahide as a gas used in carpets (years ago) cause Colitis or Cancer
Your help is appreciated. Thank you
Ed Plante
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Ed,

Colitis is a risk factor in developing colorectal cancer, but it is not a cause of cancer in itself. What the risks are depends on the individual clinical picture. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen and it is a possible side effect to formaldehyde intoxication. The extent of these risks depends on the extent of the exposure. We hope this helps!
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What Causes Colitis in Adults