What are common ways to treat colitis?


Quick Answer

Medication or surgery are common treatment methods for colitis, states Mayo Clinic. There are several drug options, and not every drug works for every patient. Some colitis medications have significant side effects. Surgery to remove the colon and rectum can eliminate colitis.

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Full Answer

Ulcerative colitis is a condition in which the patient's immune system attacks food, bacteria and other cells in the intestine as if they were foreign bodies, reports the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. This immune response causes chronic inflammation and sores within the intestine. Symptoms include loose bowel movements and diarrhea, pain in the abdomen, bloody stool, loss of appetite and weight loss.

Physicians commonly use anti-inflammatory drugs and immune suppressors to treat ulcerative colitis, explains Mayo Clinic. Aminosalicylates are a class of anti-inflammatory drugs that can reduce the severity of colitis symptoms, but they have side effects, such as headaches and stomach problems. Corticosteroids treat moderate and severe cases of colitis, but these drugs have many side effects that range from moderate to severe. Immune suppressors try to lessen inflammation by eliminating the body's immune response. Immune suppressor drugs used for treating colitis include azathioprine, cyclosporine, infliximab, adalimumab, golimumab and vedolizumab. Immune supressors are often used in tandem with corticosteroids.

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