Colitis Medical Treatment
The definitive treatment of colitis is dependent upon
the cause. Many cases require little more than symptomatic care, including clear
fluids to rest the bowel and medications to control pain. Some patients become
acutely ill and will need intravenous (IV) fluids and other interventions to treat their illness.
- Infections: Infections that cause diarrhea and colitis may or may
not require antibiotics, depending upon the cause. Viral infections resolve with the
supportive care of fluids and time. Some bacterial infections like
also do not need antibiotic therapy; the body is able to get rid of the
infection on its own. Other bacterial infections like Clostridium difficile
always require treatment with antibiotics.
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, are
often controlled by a combination of medications that are used in a step-wise
approach. Initially, anti-inflammatory medications are used, and if these are
less than successful, medications that suppress the immune system can be added.
In the most severe cases, surgery may be required to remove all or parts of the
colon and small intestine.
- Ischemic colitis: Treatment of ischemic colitis is initially supportive, using intravenous
fluids to rest the bowel and prevent dehydration. If adequate blood supply to
the bowel isn't restored, surgery may be required to remove parts of the bowel
that have lost blood supply.
- Diarrhea and abdominal pain: Most causes of colitis present with diarrhea and crampy
abdominal pain. These symptoms are also found with mild illnesses like viral
enteritis (inflammation of the colon). Initial treatment at home may include a
clear fluid diet for 24 hours, rest, and
acetaminophen (Tylenol) as needed for pain. Often symptoms
resolve quickly and no further care is needed.
Loperamide (Imodium) is an effective medicine to control diarrhea. Acetaminophen
or ibuprofen can be used for pain control.
Depending upon the cause of the colitis, medication may
be prescribed to control or cure symptoms. Antibiotics may be helpful in colitis caused by some
infections. Anti-inflammatory and immune suppression drugs can be used to
control the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease.
Must Read Articles Related to Colitis
A barium enema is a diagnostic test. During the test, the doctor puts a contrast material called barium into the rectum. Enough barium is given to fill up the c...learn more >>
Clostridium Difficile (C. difficile, C. diff)
Clostridium difficile (or C. difficile, C. diff) colitis is an infection of the colon. C. diff infection is most commonly associated with antibiotic use. Anothe...learn more >>
Colonoscopy is a procedure used to view the inside of the colon. Reasons for colonoscopy is to detect or diagnose diseases of the colon (Crohn's disease, ulcera...learn more >>
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Colitis: