What is Colitis?

Colitis is a chronic, gastroenterological condition where the colon and rectum become inflamed. Small ulcers can develop on the colon’s lining, where they often bleed and produce pus. It’s believed that one in every 420 people live with colitis in the UK.

Although Colitis can develop at any age, it’s most often diagnosed in people aged between 15 and 25 years old. It’s more common in white people of European descent, especially those descended from Ashkenazi Jewish communities, and black people. Both men and women are equally affected by the condition.


What are the symptoms of Colitis?

Symptoms of Colitis will often vary in regularity and severity, but the main symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis include:

  • Recurring diarrhoea, which may contain blood, mucus or pus
  • Abdominal pain
  • Needing to empty your bowels frequently
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexpected weight loss.

The degree of the symptoms depends on how much of the rectum and colon is inflamed and how severe the inflammation is.

Some people may experience periods of a few weeks or even months where symptoms are very mild or non-existent. These are known as periods of remission. They will often be followed by flare-ups, or periods where the symptoms are particularly severe. They are also known as relapses.

During flare-ups, some people may experience:

  • Arthritis
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Areas of painful, red, and swollen skin
  • Irritated and red eyes
  • Shortness of breath
  • A fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Blood in urine and faeces

In most people, there is no one trigger for flare-ups, although a gut infection or stress can occasionally be the cause.


What causes Colitis?

Although there is no confirmed cause for Colitis, there are a number of theories, most often centred around a problem with the immune system. These include:

  • An autoimmune condition
  • Genetic predilection
  • Environmental factors, such as exposure to certain bacteria, air pollution, medication, and certain diets

What treatment options are available for Colitis?

Medical experts decide on treatment depending on the severity and regularity of flare-ups. The goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms and extend periods of remission. It often comes from a combined team of specialist doctors, such as gastroenterologists or surgeons, GPs, and specialist nurses.

Forms of treatment include:

  • Aminosalicylates, or medicines that help to reduce inflammation
  • Corticosteroids, a more powerful type of medicine used to reduce inflammation
  • Immunosuppressants
  • A colectomy, or a surgery to remove part of the colon

There are also a number of lifestyle changes that patients can make that can help to reduce the symptoms of Colitis. These include:

  • Eating small meals
  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and fizzy drinks
  • Taking food supplements, with the advice of a GP or gastroenterologist
  • Low-residue or low-fibre diet
  • Avoiding stress

How can medical cannabis help with Colitis?

When traditional forms of treatment fail to alleviate the symptoms of Colitis, medical cannabis has been found to provide relief. For example, in this study from 2016,’Therapeutic Use of Cannabis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease’, researchers Waseem Ahmed and Seymour Katz found that the majority of patients with Colitis experienced relief from “symptoms of pain, nausea, and appetite” and that it helped “to improve their overall mood”.

As Colitis is a form of IBD that presents many of the same symptoms, it stands to reason that medical cannabis will also prove useful for patients suffering from Colitis.

The Medical Cannabis Clinics team is dedicated to raising awareness about how medical cannabis can help with a range of gastroenterological conditions, including colitis. Your prescription can be tailored to suit your individual circumstances and needs, with ongoing support and adjustments made as necessary.

At The Medical Cannabis Clinics, we offer personalised treatment plans and private care for patients through online video link consultations with our expert specialist doctors, who will guide you through the treatment options available from the clinic.

Appointments start from just £70. Book a private consultation today and one of our expert specialist doctors will be able to offer you targeted advice and treatment plans, unique to your needs and symptoms.

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