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Colitis (cont.)

Can Colitis Be Prevented?

Infectious colitis remains a common illness worldwide, affecting millions daily. The lack of clean drinking water and adequate sanitation are the main causes, leading to thousands of potentially preventable deaths each day. In developed countries, poor hand washing and poor kitchen hygiene allow the potential for infectious colitis. Prevention lies in cleanliness.

Inflammatory bowel diseases are difficult to prevent at the present time. The likely causes are heredity and perhaps an abnormal auto-immune response to an unknown stimulus in the body.

Since ischemic colitis is caused by narrowing of the blood vessels to the bowel, decreasing the risks for other types of circulatory problems such as peripheral vascular disease, heart attack, and stroke will also decrease the risk for ischemic colitis. The common risk factors are smoking and poor control of high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes.

What Is the Outlook for a Person with Colitis?

Understanding the cause of a specific colitis has allowed more targeted therapy. For example, observation has replaced surgery to remove the colon as standard therapy for some people with ulcerative colitis, and limiting the use of antibiotics has decreased the number of resistant bacteria that can cause infectious diarrhea. Worldwide, initiatives to increase access to clean water and adequate hygiene are perhaps the most important way to save lives.


Peppercorn, M. A. MD, et al. Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and prognosis of ulcerative colitis in adults." UpToDate. Updated: Aug, 21, 2017.

Kasper, D., et al. "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. McGraw-Hill Education/Medical. 19th edition. 2015

Last Reviewed 11/20/2017

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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).

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