Font Size
A
A
A
...
7
...

Colitis (cont.)

What is the treatment for colitis?

The definitive treatment of colitis depends 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: Depending on the cause, infections that cause diarrhea and colitis may or may not require antibiotics. Viral infections resolve with the supportive care of fluids and time. Some bacterial infections like Salmonella also do not need antibiotic therapy; the body is able to get rid of the infection on its own. However, other bacterial infections like Clostridium difficile always require treatment with antibiotics.
  • 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 and become necrotic (tissue that has died).
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (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.
  • 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 enterocolitis (inflammation of the small intestine and colon). Initial treatment at home may include a clear fluid diet for 24 hours, rest, and acetaminophen (Tylenol) or the NSAID ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) as needed for pain. Often symptoms resolve quickly and no further care is needed. Loperamide (Imodium) is an effective medicine to control diarrhea if there is no blood or fever present.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/20/2016

Must Read Articles Related to Colitis

Abdominal Pain (Adults)
Abdominal Pain in Adults Abdominal pain in adults can range from a mild stomach ache to severe pain. Examples of causes of abdominal pain in adults include learn more >>
Abdominal Pain in Children
Abdominal Pain in Children Abdominal pain in children can range from trivial to life-threatening. Some possible causes of abdominal pain in children are: infections, food related (food al...learn more >>
Barium Enema
Barium Enema A barium enema is a diagnostic test that us ...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Colitis (Symptoms, Types, and Treatments):

Colitis - Treatment

What was the treatment for your colitis?

Colitis - Symptoms and Signs

What symptoms and signs did you experience with colitis?

Colitis - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with Colitis.

Colitis - Types

What type of colitis do you have? Please share your experience with symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments.


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 »


Medical Dictionary