Colitis affects the bowel. Colitis is also known as IBD (inflammatory bowel disease). The medical terminology for colitis is 'ulcerative colitis'. The symptoms of colitis are in many ways akin to those of Crohn's disease except for the fact that in the latter case the entire tract from the mouth to the anus can be affected.
Colitis patients have symptoms like diarrhea accompanied by profuse bleeding and severe pain in the abdominal area. The other commonly reported symptoms are acute deficiency in nutrients, rectum bleeding, loss in weight, fatigue and loss of appetite.
A person affected by colitis needs to frequent the bathroom to empty himself as the dysfunction - primarily the intestinal inflammation -- causes diarrhea. Since the inflammation destroys the colon-lining cells, pus is produced at those affected portions and the consequence is bleeding.
Moreover, while colitis strikes the large intestine lining and thereby the bowel, Crohn's disease causes deep cut inflammation inside the small intestine. Most importantly, colitis can also affect either the lower part of the colon or the rectum or, worse still, even spread to the entire colon.
Physicians diagnose colitis via a series of tests besides an overall physiological examination. A popular methodology to examine the colon is X-ray using barium enema. First, the colon is filled with barium solution; next, the X-ray step helps to locate the inflammation portion or the ulcers if any.
To ensure whether the patient is suffering from anemia, the patients are recommended blood tests which also come in handy in finding out the rise in the number of white blood cells - a sure sign of inflammation! Moreover stool is also examined to find out infection or presence of blood. The patient may further have to go for biopsy or/and colonoscopy - a process when a tissue is extracted from the colon lining.
There is till no unanimity as to the exact causes of either colitis or Crohn's disease. The common feeling is that these ailments are basically reactions of our immune system to the main attacking viruses or bacteria. This theory is buttressed by the fact that the patients having these dysfunctions generally have abnormal or weak immunity. Researchers are still working to find out if this is exactly the cause of those ailments.
One thing is for sure though. Colitis spares no one and anybody in the age group from 15 to 30 years can fall prey to colitis. There are also reports of teenagers and kids suffering from colitis. However, the most likely victims are people above the age of 50.
However, take strength from the finding that neither colitis nor Cohn's disease is caused by a person's allergy to certain food items or stressful lifestyle. Nonetheless, these factors can very well lead to colitis or Crohn's disease.