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Colitis: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

Colitis is the medical term for swelling (inflammation) of the intestine. It can be caused by different things, such as an infection or loss of blood flow in the intestine. Other causes are problems like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Symptoms may include fever, diarrhea that may be bloody, or belly pain. Sometimes symptoms go away without treatment. But you may need treatment or more tests, such as blood tests or a stool test. Or you may need imaging tests like a CT scan or a colonoscopy. In some cases, the doctor may want to test a sample of tissue from the intestine. This test is called a biopsy.

The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Rest until you feel better.
  • Your doctor may recommend that you eat bland foods. These include rice, dry toast or crackers, bananas, and applesauce.
  • To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids. Choose water and other clear liquids until you feel better. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  • Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • Your stools are maroon or very bloody.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse belly pain.
  • You have a fever.
  • You are vomiting.
  • You cannot pass stools or gas.
  • You have new or more blood in your stools.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.
  • You have new or worse symptoms.
  • You are losing weight.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.