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Colitis is swelling (inflammation) of the colon. The colon makes up most of the large intestine. Many conditions can cause colitis.
Symptoms may include fever, diarrhea that may be bloody, or belly pain.
You may also have an urgent need to move your bowels or pain when you move your bowels. Or you may have bleeding from the rectum or weight loss.
Your symptoms may depend on the type of colitis you have. For example, microscopic colitis may cause watery diarrhea.
Sometimes symptoms go away on their own. If they don't go away, or if you have bleeding or severe pain, call your doctor right away.
You may need blood tests or a stool test. You also may need imaging tests like a CT scan. You may have a colonoscopy so that a doctor can look inside your colon. In some cases, the doctor may want to test a sample of tissue from the intestine. This test is called a biopsy.
Treatment for colitis depends on the condition that is causing it.
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.
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Current as of: September 8, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Peter J. Kahrilas MD - Gastroenterology & Brian D. O'Brien MD - Internal Medicine
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