Colitis vs. Ulcerative Colitis

Difference between colitis and ulcerative colitis?

Colitis is the inflammation of the colon, which is the large intestine. There are many causes for this condition, such as infections, unknown reasons (in which case it is idiopathic), doctor’s intervention, (in which case it is iatrogenic) or auto immune. Colitis that is has an auto immune cause is said to be ulcerative colitis.

The colon (large intestine) is a muscular tube that has epithelium in the lining. The absorption of water and some vitamins, such as Vitamin K, is the main function of the colon. It contains bacteria called bowel flora that are beneficial to the body.  When there is inflammation present in the colon it cannot function properly and it causes pain. The symptoms include pain in the stomach, weight loss and blood in the stool.  A colonoscopy is needed to diagnose colitis because with this examination the doctor will be able to see the red lining of the colon and any ulcers that may be present.

If there is any break in the epithelium, the bacteria that is in the colon will spread and cause harm. It may even spread to the bloodstream and cause septicaemia in colitis. Ulcerative colitis starts in the rectum and genetics plays a part in determining your susceptibility to contracting this disease. The immune system will start to react with the normally harmless substances and this causes inflammation.  There are also other systems of the body involved in this condition because it is an auto immune disease.

Summary

  1. Colitis is an inflammation of the large intestine. It can be an auto immune disease or be caused by radiation or infection.
  2. Ulcerative colitis is one type of auto immune colitis and has a significant risk of cancer.
  3. Smoking is a protective factor for ulcerative colitis.