Inflammation of the colon: causes and symptoms


Causes of inflammation of the colon

The exact reasons for colitis are unknown, it is an idiopathic form.

Studies have shown that a special gene identified as NOD2 is responsible for Crohn’s disease.

Some research has shown that inflammation of the colon may be caused by a genetic predisposition.

In infectious colitis, bacteria are the cause of the disease:

  • Campylobacter, Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Clostridium
  • Group A rotaviruses
  • Parasites: Entamoeba

Research shows that some people develop colitis immediately after taking antibiotics.
This happens due to the suppression of the bacteria by the drugs and the associated growth of other bacteria.

Ischemic colitis is provoked by hardening or narrowing of blood vessels in the large intestine.
The blood supply is reduced in the area, which leads to inflammation.
Since this vascular disease worsens with age, the likelihood of ischemic colitis is higher in the elderly.
It can occur at any age, even in healthy people.

The hypovolemic shock and rapid dehydration can cause ischemic colitis in people with insufficient blood pressure.
Prolonged obstruction of blood flow to the colon may be caused due to a hernia.
In cardiogenic shock, the blood is diverted to the heart and brain, thus reducing the blood supply to:

  • Colon
  • other organs.

The result is ischemic colitis.
Possible complaints include:

  • abdominal pain,
  • hard stomach,
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever.

Autoimmune disease
Inflammation of the colon is often caused by an autoimmune disease, such as:

  • Crohn’s disease,
  • Ulcerative colitis.

Ulcerative colitis is often confused with Crohn’s disease; in fact, both diseases have similar symptoms, but differ by:

  • Location of affected sites and lesions: Crohn’s disease can attack any section of the digestive tract, while ulcerative colitis affects the rectum and sigmoid colon.
  • Genetic characteristics:
    • Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease.
    • Crohn’s disease is caused by the mutation of the NOD2 and CARD15 genes on chromosome 16.
  • Clinical evolution

Food intolerances
The causes of colitits include food intolerances, i.e. a reaction of the organism that occurs through the consumption of certain foods; common triggers are:

  • Milk
  • Gluten
  • Eggs
  • Tomatoes
  • Yeast, etc.

As a rule, natural diets can cure diseases without medication, but this requires avoiding improper foods.
Foods that can lead to inflammation of the intestinal mucosa include:

  • Fast food
  • sweetened, carbonated drinks,
  • Chewing gum
  • processed and transformed, i.e. no longer natural, foods.

Other causes of colitis

  • Smoking: especially in Crohn’s disease,
  • Stress and anxiety: an anxious, worried person with low self-esteem or someone who is under strong psychological pressure may suffer from colitis.

Symptoms of inflammation of the colon

Since the colon is affected by this condition, there is a direct effect on digestion and excretion.

Where does it hurt?
The pain is felt:

  • in the lower abdomen,
  • right in the abdomen,
  • in the left flank, much more frequently,
  • The pain can radiate backwards and downwards, causing lumbar back pain.

The most common symptoms of colon inflammation are:

  1. diarrhea or constipation for a long time; constipation can favor hemorrhoids.
  2. Blood and/or mucus in the stool.
  3. Air in the abdomen, abdominal swelling and bloating.
  4. Fever.
  5. Vomiting and nausea.
  6. Weight loss, loss of appetite and fatigue.
  7. Problems of the urinary system – men with prostatitis may observe an increase in symptoms when the colon is severely inflamed.
    Bladder infection (cystitis) – Many women who suffer from inflammation of the colon also develop a bladder infection, mainly due to the bacteria in the intestine that easily spread to the vagina.
  8. Irritable bowel syndrome can irritate the bladder, causing more frequent urination and nocturnal urination (nocturia).
  9. Feeling of incomplete bowel and bladder emptying.
  10. Heartburn or abdominal pain that increases after meals and gets better after bowel movements. The symptoms rarely occur at night.
  11. Abdominal cramps.
  12. Pain on the anus and perineum, especially during bowel movements.
  13. Headache.
  14. Halitosis.
  15. Bitter taste in the mouth.


How is inflammation of the colon diagnosed?

The doctor performs a physical examination, applying pressure to the abdomen two finger widths next to the right iliac fossa to:

  • to see if the symptoms stem from the appendix or the ascending colon;
  • exclude appendicitis.

To diagnose this disease, he may prescribe further examinations to the patient:

  • Blood analysis
  • Stool examination

In this way, the doctor can determine the causes of the patient’s intestinal inflammation.

Colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy are invasive examinations, but very useful for seeing what the condition of the colon is.
In these procedures, the doctor inserts an endoscope, a small and specially designed device, through the anus into the intestine.
This allows him to detect the patient’s intestinal inflammation.
The doctor may also take tissue samples from the intestine (biopsy).

Echography of the entire abdomen can reveal enlargements of the lymph nodes that would occur in ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and nonspecific colitis.

Magnetic resonance imaging is used to rule out other diseases, such as intestinal endometriosis.

Read more: