ZocdocAnswersWhat are the symptoms of colitis?

Question

What are the symptoms of colitis?

I think I might have colitis but really really don't twant to get a colonoscopy. What are the colitis symptoms? I know there's stomach and digestion problems.

Answer

Colitis refers to an inflammation of the colon, which is another term for the large intestine. The large comprises the last part of the digestive system, connecting the small intestine to the anus. It is largely responsible for the reabsorption of water from digested food. Colitis can be the result of several different processes, including infection, autoimmune disease (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease), or lack of oxygen (ischemic colitis). Colitis can present in different ways, and may include abdominal or rectal pain, diarrhea (which may sometimes be bloody or contain mucus), fevers, and weight loss. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then you should call or see your primary care doctor immediately. Your doctor can get a sense of what is going on by conducting a thorough history and physical exam, and if necessary, may order labs such as blood and stool studies as well as imaging. For patients with severe colitis, dehydration can be a significant problem, and this may require intravenous fluids. If your doctor thinks it is appropriate, referral to a gastroenterologist may be necessary for further work-up. If the cause of your symptoms is unclear, then direct visualization of the colon with either flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy may be necessary.

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