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What causes an inflamed colon?

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Doctors use the term colitis when referring to an inflamed colon, and the various causes for colitis include infection, inflammatory bowel disease and microscopic colitis, according to MedicineNet. Many causes of colon inflammation can be treated with diet and observation, but a more serious diagnosis is possible.

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The most common bacteria that cause colitis include campylobacter, shigella and e. coli, notes MedicineNet. Contaminated food is the frequent culprit for these infections, and symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and dehydration. The infection can also affect other organs due to the toxins that the bacteria produce. Another bacterial infection that causes colitis is clostridium difficile, which is found in the colon of healthy people but can overgrow due to the use of antibiotics.

Two types of inflammatory bowel disease that give rise to colitis are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, explains MedicineNet. Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease that has symptoms such as abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. The two types of microscopic colitis are collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis. These types of colitis are rare and may be autoimmune diseases that result when either collagen or lymphocytes infiltrate the layers of the colon wall. A symptom of microscopic colitis is watery diarrhea with no blood.

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