What causes colitis is still a matter of much debate within the traditional medical community. Colitis is basically an inflammatory swelling of the large intestine -- the colon. The basic function of the colon is to produce stools by absorbing fluids and food residues.
Colitis belongs to a group called Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and most forms of colitis are mild to moderate, although an extreme condition known as ulcerative colitis can become debilitating over time, caused by the development of ulcers inside the colon or rectum. This chronic condition seems to afflict mostly people of all ages and can affect both sexes. Crohn's Disease is perhaps somewhat a better-known IBD. Most members of the traditional medical community will tell you that there is no cure for IBDs, and many people suffer for many years with the symptoms.
The most common symptoms of colitis include abdominal pain, cramping, bloody stools, diarrhea, fever, chills or dehydration.
Here are 5 common theories about what causes colitis:
1. Antibiotics: The introduction of antibiotics in the 1950s and its subsequent widespread use saw a marked increase in the incidence of colitis. It is well-known that antibiotics can adversely interact with naturally occurring bacteria within the digestive system, eventually eroding the inner lining of the colon. While suppressing normal bacteria, antibiotics can furthermore aid abnormal growth of other bacterium, the most widely known being Clostridium difficile, an acknowledged producer of toxins that can lead to colitis.
This use of antibiotics destroys the mucosal lining of the intestines, and I believe this to be the primary cause of colitis, and that is the focus of my treatment protocol. This lining is imperative for the health of your colon, as it protects the tissue in GI tract. Once the lining has been damaged, your body's digestive enzymes then work on destroying this lining. As the tissue is eaten away, it causes symptoms like bleeding, bowel urgency, and diarrhea.
In fact, there has been a marked increase in gastrointestinal disorders since the 1950s due to the fact that antibiotics were introduced and popularized during that time. As people began increasing their use of antibiotics, more and more gastrointestinal problems began surfacing in the general population.
2. Immune system: Scientists at the Mayo Clinic have suggested that a weakened immune system caused by illness can lead to the digestive system becoming inflamed, thus colitis. Other scientists have offered that the introduction of a virus or pathogens, such as E. Coli, Listeria, Botulism, Salmonella, or Shigella, can also be a leading cause.
3. Blood supply: Restricted or insufficient blood flow to the colon can cause blood vessel inflammation. The causes can range from common ailments such as diabetes, hernias, infections, high blood pressure or cholesterol, and sometimes just from arteries narrowing due to the progress of age.
4. Heredity: In another finding, the Mayo Clinic also suggested that heredity is a predominant culprit leading to what causes colitis. Their research points to the fact that possible gene mutations can be inherited that can predispose patients to developing colitis themselves, although the genes in question have not been pinpointed. However, statistics show that only 15% of colitis sufferers have family members who also have a form of IBD.
5. Stress: Although stress has not been singled out as a direct factor in what causes colitis, it has been emphasized that stress can be the root cause of colitis flare ups. Stress is commonly referred to as a trigger for colitis.
Despite the disagreement between natural medicine and traditional (Western) medicine about what causes colitis, I know that colitis can be permanently cured with a treatment protocol involving use of probiotics to rebuild the GI tract.