Colon and its Function :
The term “Colon” refers to the large intestine which is part of our digestive system. Colon is an inverted ‘U’ shaped coiled tube like structure. Its main function is to absorb the water contents from the food and to store the undigested food in the small intestine and eliminate feces and to eliminate feces (waste particles) from the body. Secondly colon is responsible for maintaining the fluid balance of the body. It serves as the processing center of food particles storing the useful foods and eliminating the wastes. There would be plenty of bacteria in the colon that combines with mucus to form feces. The waste particles would move towards the rectum and on its way the lining of colon would absorb important minerals and vitamins. Bacteria would feed on the fiber to break down the fiber into nutrients.
In order to have a good digestion process colon should stay healthy. If the colon is functioning well it would absorb toxic materials and send them into the blood. It would lead to various health problems like gas, constipation and in the long run becomes chronic medical condition. The colon serves as the home for millions of bacteria and other micro-organisms. If you want to remain healthy your colon should contain good volumes of healthy bacteria to protect you from many digestive problems.
The colon or large intestine can lose the balance by the food we eat, by the impure air we breathe and by stressful events that takes place daily in our life. In such conditions the body should have to work hard to eliminate toxins. However at certain stage the toxic substances are recycled into the body instead of getting eliminated by the colon leading to various diseases and disorders. Any serious problem in the colon can cause asthma, rheumatic arthritis or irritable bowel syndrome and in rare cases cancer.
What exactly triggers inflammation of colon is not known. But it is believed to originate from bacteria and viruses that would eventually trigger the body’s immunity to produce certain chemicals that causes inflammation. Sometimes inflammation of colon can develop due to autoimmune disorder. Any swelling of the lining of colon can cause complications like diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain.
There will not be signs of cramps and pain continuously once the colon gets inflamed. Often there would be flare-ups (symptoms are prominent) followed by recession (there will not be any symptom) with regard to inflammatory bowel disease. Hence signs and symptoms of one person vary with the other ranging from mild to severe. Some of the general symptoms of inflamed colon are loss of appetite, pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, mild fever, urgency to expel bowels and loss of weight. For some people loss of nutrients can cause anemia.
In the long term it can cause chronic abdominal pain and ulcerous growth on the colon. For some cases only the colon (large intestine) gets affected but for others it can affect any part of digestive system. In extreme cases inflamed colon can cause internal bleeding, stricture (narrowing of canal causing obstruction of bowel movement) and fistulae. In rare cases it can lead to colon cancer.
Your doctor would listen to the symptoms (given above) and order for blood test, stool test to find out any parasitic infection. He would request for barium X-ray to track any abnormalities in the colon and other parts of digestive system. Sigmoidoscopy is done for checking any cancerous growth, ulcers and bleeding inside.
Home Treatment :
Whenever something is wrong with your stomach and digestive system you need to avoid hot/oily and spicy foods. You can reduce the dairy foods from the diet and also lessen the fiber intake. Do not take two large meals instead you can take small meals several times a day. Based on the doctor’s instructions you can stick on to low residue diet. In other words you should reduce the fiber intake so that colon will not have to work hard.
Take fully cooked foods so that you can get the required nutrients that your body needs. Stress can worsen the symptoms of abdominal pain and diarrhea. Hence you need to manage stress and emotions by practicing yoga and meditation techniques. Breathing exercises can help you to overcome stress.
Images, Pics, Photos and Pictures of Inflamed Colon :
Medical Treatment :
The goal of the treatment is to reduce the inflammation of colon and relieve you from the symptoms. Based on the intensity of symptoms and your health condition, your doctor would start with medications of low doses. Aminosalicylates are prescribed for quick healing of inflammation. Drugs like azulfidine, dipendtum, colazal and asacol are given in the form of oral pills or in the form of enema for treating colitis. In addition to providing relief from symptoms, these drugs will also prevent flare-ups of colitis.
To manage diarrhea the doctor may prescribe antispasmodics and anti-diarrheal drugs. Often many people will get quick relief from the above medications. Subsequently if your health condition does not improve, the doctor may prescribe corticosteroids that are fast acting agents to control inflammation. But they cannot be taken for long due to its side effects. Anti TNF agents like Infliximab is prescribed for controlling the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
Surgery is the last option for inflamed colon. Only in serious cases and considering the factors like age, health condition and intensity of disease, surgery is done for removing colon (in part or full). Proctocolectomy is the removal of entire colon with rectum during surgery. A small opening is created into the small intestine for emptying the contents and feces. For some people a pouch or bag would be created to connect the small intestine with anal canal.