Colitis, which is officially known as ulcerative colitis, is a type of chronic inflammatory bowel disease. This severe condition leads to inflammation, ulcers and bleeding in the lining of the colon and rectum.
Although the cause of colitis is unknown, it can run in families, so there could be a genetic risk. Jewish ancestry is also a risk factor. Some experts suspect that bacteria or a virus could lead to an overreaction by the immune system that ends up harming the rectum and colon. This condition tends to affect people between 15 and 30 years old, and also people ages 50 to 70.
Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and pain, rectal bleeding, anemia, weight loss, fatigue, weakness, nausea and fever. Treatment options include avoiding certain foods, like dairy products, foods with a lot of seasoning and fiber. Aminosalicylate medication can also help.
There are no current ways to prevent ulcerative colitis.