Are Bananas Good for Colitis?

Reviewed on 4/21/2021

Colitis is inflammation of the colon's inner lining, caused by infection, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease), ischemic colitis (inadequate blood flow to the intestines), microscopic colitis, and allergic reactions in babies. A low-residue/low fiber diet is sometimes used to help people with gastrointestinal problems to rest the digestive system. Bananas are considered a low-residue food that can ease the symptoms of colitis.
Colitis is inflammation of the colon's inner lining, caused by infection, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), ischemic colitis (inadequate blood flow to the intestines), microscopic colitis, and allergic reactions in babies. A low-residue/low fiber diet is sometimes used to help people with gastrointestinal problems to rest the digestive system. Bananas are considered a low-residue food that can ease the symptoms of colitis.

Colitis is inflammation of the inner lining of the colon

Colitis can be caused by infection, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), ischemic colitis (inadequate blood flow to the intestines), microscopic colitis, and allergic reactions in babies.

Bananas are a low-fiber fruit and many people who have colitis can easily digest them. When people who have colitis have flares (periods of worsening symptoms), they may find it helpful to eat bland foods, including bananas. 

A low-residue/low fiber diet is sometimes used to help people with gastrointestinal problems to rest the digestive system by reducing the amount of food waste that has to move through the large intestine (colon). Bananas are considered a low-residue food that may help relieve symptoms of colitis. 

What Are Symptoms of Colitis?

Symptoms of colitis may vary depending on the type. 

Symptoms of infectious colitis may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal pain
  • Feeling of being unable to empty the bowels
  • Bloody stools 
  • Urgent bowel movements

Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) may include:

Symptoms of ischemic colitis may include:

  • Abdominal pain which can be mild or severe
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in bowel movements, including bloody diarrhea
  • Weight loss without trying
  • Eating problems, such as:
    • Food fear: not wanting to eat because of pain that comes on after eating
    • Feeling full too quickly when eating

Symptoms of microscopic colitis may include: 

Symptoms of allergic colitis affect babies and may include:

  • Fussiness
  • Difficulty being consoled
  • Flecks or streaks of blood in the stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Signs of allergies, such as nasal congestion or red, itchy skin (eczema)

What Causes Colitis?

Each type of colitis has a different cause. 

The causes of infectious colitis include

The cause of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) is unknown, but it is believed to involve an abnormal activation of the immune system in the intestines, causing chronic inflammation and ulceration in portions of the digestive tract. A susceptibility to abnormal activation of the immune system is genetically inherited. 

The cause of ischemic colitis is inadequate blood flow to the intestines which occurs when veins or arteries in the intestines are blocked.

The cause of microscopic colitis is unknown but it is believed to be the result of an abnormal immune-system response to bacteria that normally live in the colon. Factors that may contribute to the development of microscopic colitis include: 

  • Autoimmune diseases, such as celiac disease, thyroid diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis
  • Certain medications
  • Infections
  • Genetic factors, including genes linked to other inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
  • Bile acid malabsorption

Allergic colitis affects infants and it occurs when the baby's immune system overreacts to proteins found in cow's milk, which results in inflammation in the colon. Allergic colitis is caused by a combination of changes to the mother’s immune system during pregnancy combined with a baby immature immune system. It’s unknown why some babies develop the condition but there may be a genetic component.

How Is Colitis Diagnosed?

Different types of colitis are diagnosed with a physical exam and patient history and tests such as: 

SLIDESHOW

Super Tips to Boost Digestive Health: Bloating, Constipation, and More See Slideshow

What Is the Treatment for Colitis?

Treatment for colitis depends on the type. 

Treatment for infectious colitis depends on the pathogen that causes it and may include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antifungals
  • Antivirals
  • Medications for pain
  • Fever reducers
  • Iron supplements in cases of severe or prolonged bleeding
  • Adequate hydration 

Treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs 
  • Immunomodulators
  • Biologic therapies
  • Janus kinase inhibitors (JAK Inhibitors)
  • Surgery: a last-resort for severe cases and usually involves removing the entire colon and the rectum

Treatment for ischemic bowel colitis may include: 

  • Intravenous (IV) fluids
  • Nasogastric tube to suck out excess fluid and air in the stomach and intestines
  • Antibiotics to treat infection
  • Anti-clotting medications (blood thinners) to treat clots in the vessels
  • A procedure or surgery to open a blocked artery
  • Surgery to remove part of the bowel if it is not healthy

Treatment for microscopic colitis may include: 

  • Medications
    • Antidiarrheal medications 
    • Corticosteroids
    • Anti-inflammatories
    • Cholestyramine resin
    • Antibiotics 
    • Immunomodulators 
    • Anti-TNF therapies
  • Dietary changes
    • Avoid caffeine and artificial sweeteners
    • Drink plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration during episodes of diarrhea
    • Avoid dairy products in cases of lactose intolerance
    • Avoid gluten
  • Surgery: a last-resort for severe cases and usually involves removing the entire colon and the rectum

Treatment for allergic colitis may include:

  • A dairy-free diet for the breastfeeding mother 
  • Switching the baby to a hypoallergenic formula
  • The mother should avoid soy (or use a soy-free formula) because about 30% of babies allergic to cow’s milk protein are also allergic to soy protein

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 4/21/2021
References
https://www.uptodate.com/contents/ulcerative-colitis-beyond-the-basics?topicRef=15613&source=see_link

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8613037/

https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/diet-and-nutrition/what-should-i-eat

https://medicine.umich.edu/sites/default/files/content/downloads/LowFiberLowResidueDiet.pdf

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/ischemic-bowel-disease-the-basics?search=ischemic%20colitis&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/755614_6

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/microscopic-colitis