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What is the standard treatment for bacterial colitis?

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Quick Answer

As a self-limiting infection, colitis caused by the bacterium Campylobacter jejuni does not require treatment with antibiotics, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Pseudomembranous colitis is treated by stopping the use of the antibiotic that caused the infection, treatment with new antibiotics or a partial colectomy, Mayo Clinic reports.

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When the colitis is caused by the bacterium Clostridium difficile, it is treated by stopping the antibiotic that causes the imbalance between harmful and beneficial bacteria in the colon and replaced with drugs such as fidaxomicin, metronidazole or vancomycin, WebMD notes. Several other families of bacteria that cause colitis, such as escherichia, campylobacter, salmonella, shigella and yersinia, are treated with broad-spectrum quinolone antibiotics. In some cases, erythromycin is used to treat Campylobacter jejuni colitis in order to reduce the fecal release of the bacterium, the NCBI reports.

Secondary symptoms such as diarrhea and dehydration are managed by treatment with bile acid binders such as cholestyramine and fluid electrolytes respectively, WebMD states. In severe cases of pseudomembranous colitis, fecal replacement therapy is used to restore the bacterial balance in the colon by transferring homogenized feces from a healthy donor, preferably a close relative, into the affected colon, according to Mayo Clinic.

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