What is acute self-limited colitis?
In general, this is a type of inflammation of the lining of the colon that is due to an infection or drug, or other chemical or irritant. It tends to cause acute rather than chronic symptoms, and usually heals completely.
What are the symptoms of acute self-limited colitis?
This depends on the cause, but may include abdominal bloating or pain, and diarrhea. At times the colon may appear “irritated” at the time of routine colonoscopy, and the patient may have no symptoms.
What are the causes of acute self-limited colitis?
- Infection from a variety of organisms, either bacterial or viral. Bacterial infections can be caused by Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, Vibrio, and E. coli O157:H7 to name a few. Viruses may also cause colitis, but are often more difficult to identify.
- Drugs. This is a major category, and includes antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, chemotherapeutic agents used for cancer treatment, cocaine, and others.
- Chemicals or irritants. Occasionally, laxatives, soap, contrast agents used in radiographic tests and even colon preparations can cause reversible irritation.
What is the treatment of acute self-limited colitis?
The majority of cases of acute self-limited colitis do not require specific treatment as the colon will heal on its own. If infection is severe, it may require specific antibiotic therapy. In some cases, a medication or other offending agent will have to be stopped.