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Colitis (cont.)

What kind of doctor treats colitis?

Gastroenterologists are the medical specialists that treat diseases of the gastrointestinal organs such as colitis. In some cases colitis may be managed by primary care specialists or internal medicine specialists. Depending on the type of colitis, other specialists may be involved in the treatment, including infectious disease specialists or surgeons. Pediatricians or pediatric gastroenterologists are involved in the care of infants, children, and teens with colitis.

What questions will the doctor ask me about my colitis?

The health-care professional will perform a physical examination on the patient by taking vital signs, and focusing on the abdomen feeling for areas of tenderness, for masses, or abnormally enlarged organs.

The health-care professional also will take a past medical history to assess the risk factors for peripheral vascular disease (narrowing of the arteries), for example, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. These risk factors are important in exploring ischemic bowel as the cause for colitis.

The health-care professional may ask the patient the following questions:

  • When and what time did the symptoms start?
  • How long does the pain last?
  • How frequent is the diarrhea?
  • Are any other associated symptoms or signs?
  • Has the patient traveled recently, been on an unusual diet, or has used or drank noncommercial water (for example, drinking from a well or river water on a camping trip) This may assist in the diagnosis to bacterial infections such as Shigella, Campylobacter, or Yersinia; or parasite infections such as giardia.
  • Has the patient recently used antibiotics? Recent use of antibiotics may direct the health-care professional to consider Clostridium difficile (C Diff) as the cause.
  • Has there been any blood in the stool?
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/20/2016

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Colitis »

Colitis is an inflammation of the colon. It may be associated with enteritis (inflammation of the intestine) and/or proctitis (inflammation of the rectum).

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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