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Colitis: The Importance of Colon Health

Colitis, partially ulcerative colitis, and Chron’s disease, which are both forms of inflammatory bowel disease, are relatively well-known within the medical community and among those who are directly impacted by the illness. However, colitis might not be as well known to the general population as more prevalent medical conditions like diabetes or asthma.

Welcome to our investigation of the gut, one of the body’s most complex ecosystems. As we set out on this adventure, we delve into a subject that affects millions of people globally but is frequently hidden from view and spoken about in silence: Colitis: The Importance of Colon Health.

In this blog we will go deeper into colitis, going into its causes, risk factors, symptoms, and various treatments. We will also discuss ways to support general health by treating colitis and preserving colon health. We hope to help you navigate through everything you need to know about colitis and discover the importance of maintaining a healthy colon!

If family members have ulcerative colitis, have a physical exam and blood tests.

What is Colitis?

The big intestine, or colon, can become inflamed, and this condition is known as colitis. It can have a number of causes and symptoms, including cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), bleeding in the rectal area, and occasionally fever.

Symptoms Of Colitis 

You may experience weight loss, abdominal pain, blood or mucus in your feces, loss of appetite, a bloated stomach, or acute diarrhea. More severe cases may include fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and nausea. Chronic colitis will also include malnutrition, fatigue, malabsorption, anemia, and dehydration.

Types

The term “colitis” refers to a group of inflammatory diseases of the colon, each with unique features and underlying causes. Understanding the distinct varieties of colitis is crucial for precise diagnosis and suitable management. There are several types of colitis . Additionally, colitis can be identified by how long a person may experience symptoms, from short-term types like food poisoning to autoimmune disorders like inflammatory bowel disease. Some of these are easy to treat with mild symptoms and go away after a short period of time. Others can be lifelong and cause damage to the colon as well as impact your daily life.

Here are the most common types:

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is the most common type of inflammatory bowel disease. It is caused when the immune system reacts more than it should to other materials and bacteria in the digestive tract. Inside the inner lining of the large intestine, bleeding ulcers occur along with inflammation. Ulcerative colitis starts at the rectum and spreads to the entire colon over time. There is no cure, but symptoms can be managed. For severe ulcerative colitis, surgery can be done to remove parts of the colon.

Ulcerative colitis can be painful and could lead to a medical emergency.

Crohn’s Colitis

Another kind of IBD that can impact the colon and other parts of the digestive system is Crohn’s disease. This is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes the digestive tract to become aggravated and grow larger. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and weight loss are possible symptoms.

Ischemic Colitis

This kind of colitis is brought on by decreased or limited blood flow to the colon, which damages and inflames the colon’s tissue. Numerous conditions, including blood clots, constricted blood vessels, and low blood pressure, can result in ischemic colitis. Abdominal aches, cramps, and bloody diarrhea are some of the symptoms. 

Infectious Colitis

This kind of colitis is brought on by a colon infection, which is frequently brought on by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. Salmonella, Shigella, Escherichia coli, and Clostridium difficile (C. diff) are examples of common pathogens. Fever, dehydration, diarrhea, and stomach pain are possible symptoms.

Microscopic Colitis 

This particular kind of colitis is characterized by colon inflammation that is only visible under a microscope. Collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis are the two primary kinds. Abdominal pain, weight loss, and persistent, watery diarrhea are some of the symptoms.

Lymphocytes can only be seen under a microscope.

Chemical Colitis

When harsh chemicals or irritants, like pharmaceuticals, enemas, or cleansing solutions, damage the colon’s lining, it can result in chemical colitis, which is characterized by inflammation, and symptoms include diarrhea, bleeding from the rectal area, and pain in the abdomen.

Radiation Colitis

This type of colitis occurs as a side effect of radiation therapy for cancer treatment, particularly when the radiation is targeted at or near the abdomen or pelvis. Radiation damages the lining of the colon, leading to inflammation and symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and rectal bleeding.

Pseudomembranous Colitis

A Clostridium difficile infection causes pseudomembranous colitis. It is a bacteria that stays in the intestine and doesn’t cause harm as long as the good bacteria keeps it balanced. It takes hold after certain antibiotics are ingested that may kill off the good bacteria. This means the Clostridium difficile can start spreading and overgrow rapidly. When this happens it starts to produce and release toxins. The good news is that taking the appropriate antibiotics can stop this condition.

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Inflammatory bowel diseases are long-term conditions that can disappear for short periods called remission. These are autoimmune diseases as a result of the immune system not working effectively and attacking the body instead. Triggers include environmental factors like diet, smoking, drugs, pollution, infection, and stress. Gastrointestinal and liver disease is linked according to this review in the World Health Journal of Hepatology. It’s important to get your liver tested when you have inflammatory bowel disease so that treatment can start immediately. This will help to prevent greater liver disease damage. If you have a family history of this disease it puts you at higher risk of getting it yourself.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is an immune system dysregulation where the body does not work optimally.

Risk Factors Associated with Colitis

Other Inflammatory Disease Risks

Once you have one inflammatory disease there is an increased risk of getting more in other body parts. For example, osteoarthritis sufferers generally also have chronic liver inflammation and we discussed the link between gastrointestinal and liver disease.

Bowel Movements Perforation

The more inflammation that occurs, the more damage it can cause. The walls of the colon start to become weak and could tear. A weak wall could tear if you have an ulcer that pushes through. When that happens the bacteria starts to leak through and affect the bloodstream and abdominal cavity. A disruption of the bloodstream may result in septicemia and ultimately sepsis.

Increases Colon Cancer Risk

Chronic inflammation could cause cells to change and over time these changes could become cancerous. After experiencing colitis for 10 years your risk for colon cancer and colorectal cancer starts to increase.

Toxic Megacolon

Your colon could start to widen more and more. When that happens it interferes with muscle contractions that generally occur during digestion. It allows for gas and food to not travel through the intestine as it should and therefore become stuck. This can cause severe bloating and increases the risk of a rupture.

Treatment Options

Anti Inflammatories

It may be necessary for you to take the prescribed medications to reduce the inflammation or discomfort. However, it is advisable to consider your holistic options, like garlic or rosemary, to reduce inflammation.

Surgery

Surgery can be necessary to repair the damage if there has been a rupture or a perforation.

Diet

For short-term colitis, sticking to a high-fiber diet can help manage the symptoms. However, when dealing with a chronic disease, a more specialized diet may be a better option. You may need to keep a food diary to identify the trigger foods that cause your body to experience symptoms.

A anti-inflammatory diet can help with ulcerative colitis.

Low-residue

You should only eat food that has been fully cooked. Fats and fiber will irritate your intestines and could lead to aggravated symptoms.

Anti-inflammatory

Avoid processed foods and high in saturated fats and sugar. You should include foods like nuts, olive oil, and avocados in a balanced diet. The Mediterranean Diet is anti-inflammatory and can help mitigate the effects of colitis.

Elimination Diet

The elimination diet is eliminating particular foods or food groups from your diet for a predetermined amount of time. This procedure aids in the identification of any dietary sensitivities or intolerances that may be the source of symptoms such as headaches, skin conditions, or digestive problems. Following the elimination phase, foods are progressively added back one at a time while taking note of negative reactions. This aids in identifying the items that cause symptoms, enabling a customized diet free of problematic foods.

Prevention

You can prevent a flare-up by adjusting your lifestyle, creating routines, and sticking to the following:

Food Diary

Take note of what foods cause inflammation and remove them from your diet. Experiment with your fiber intake, meal sizes, and meal frequency to find what works best for you.

Identify colitis and ulcerative colitis symptoms.

Diet

Eat foods that are healthy and good for your colon and drink plenty of water. Add supplements that can also be beneficial in helping with colon health.

Well of Life’s Colon Cleanse helps to keep your colon clear so that the digestive process works optimally. It also eases a lot of the symptoms linked to colitis.

This supplemnet may ease ulcerative colitis affects.

Mental Health

Make sure you are getting adequate rest and managing your stress levels by getting rid of as many stressors as you can. Indulge in activities that bring you happiness and spend time with loved ones often.

Exercise

Do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. This will keep your organs working optimally and regulate your body’s inflammatory responses.

Sleep

Getting at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep a night is restorative. Sleep allows your body to recharge and repair. Keep to a sleep schedule daily to ensure you get enough sleep.

Key Takeaways

While we don’t know what could prevent colitis, we do know that there are ways to lower the risk and even prevent a flare-up. Keeping our colon healthy through a healthy lifestyle change will not just benefit your colon but your overall health as well.

Having colitis doesn’t mean you can’t live an active, healthy life. By making your digestive health a priority, maintaining remission is easier to do. Controlling symptoms is merely a matter of doing the right things for your body!

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