The colon is a component of the excretory system and is the organ that functions as a waiting area for waste material before they are expelled through the rectum and anus. When a person has colitis the colon’s inner lining gets ulcerated and inflamed leading to symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea and rectal bleeding.
Colitis and Cohn’s disease both generate intestinal inflammation and both are known inflammatory bowel diseases or IBD. In the United States, about 2 million people suffer from this condition each year. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases can start during childhood but they are more commonly found in adolescents and young adults. No one knows how ulcerative colitis starts and doctors state that this disease is not infectious or contagious.
Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms
Rectal bleeding and diarrhea are the most typical signs of ulcerative colitis (UC) although there can be some other symptoms as well. These other symptoms will manifest depending on the scope and severity of the inflammation of the colon and rectum. US symptoms are often mild when just a part of the colon and the rectum are inflamed.
Ulcerative colitis is classified depending on where and how severe the inflammation is.
If the inflammation is limited to the rectum only, the UC condition is classified as ulcerative proctitis. The typical symptom that ulcerative proctitis patients experience is mild and intermittent bleeding. However, if the patient has a more severe rectal inflammation, he may experience the urgent need to pass stool as well as rectal pain.
Proctosigmoiditis is another UC classification in which the rectum and the sigmoid colon, a short colon segment attached to the rectum become inflamed. This type of condition has symptoms that are the same as that of ulcerative proctitis. Sometimes additional symptoms like bloody diarrhea and cramps can be experienced by the patient.
When the left colon (composed of the descending colon and the sigmoid colon) as well as the rectum are inflamed, the condition becomes known as left-sided colitis. Symptoms of left-sided colitis include bloody diarrhea, left-sided stomach pain, stomach cramps and weight loss.
When the left colon, the right transverse colon and the rectum become inflamed, the condition becomes is called universal colitis or Pan colitis. Pan colitis symptoms fatigues, night sweats and fever as well as symptoms seen in left-sided colitis. Since it affects a number of regions in the colon, pan colitis is harder to address than colitis conditions that affects only one area of the colon.
This is a type of pan colitis albeit a rare but severe form. Fulminate colitis is a condition where the patient suffers from severe illness and from extreme stomach pain, longstanding diarrhea coupled with bleeding, dehydration and even shock.
Scott Paglia is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Bellingham, WA and provides master level pulse diagnosis, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in Whatcom County, WA.