Ileocolitis is a type of Crohn’s disease and is also called as inflammatory bowel disease. This disorder normally affects the ileum and colon simultaneously; hence the name “ileocolitis” is given. Ileocolitis occurs in one half of the people who suffer from Crohn’s disease. In severe cases, the affected parts of the colon or ileum can become contagious thereby spreading to other areas like small intestine and large intestine.
This disease affects the ileum and large intestine and is a chronic inflammatory disorder causing digestive problems.
Ileocolitis is an autoimmune disorder caused by the body’s own immune system. The defense mechanism of the body instead of protecting the tissue will start attacking the healthy cells. The chronic inflammation in the rectum or ileum damages the wall of the intestine which would become thicker in size than normal. Improper diet and stress are other causes of ileocolitis.
Some believe that this disorder can be hereditary wherein it is passed on to next generation through carrier genes of the parents. Since this disease involves immune system, people who are in the developing ages (20-30) are more prone to get this problem than adults.
This is a disease caused by mucus and hence one should limit taking acidity foods. Acidosis is the main reason for causing inflammation of the ileum and colon. Smoking may also increase the risk of ileocolitis.
People who work in the atmosphere prone to industrial pollution have increased chance of getting this problem.
Some of the common signs of this disorder are swelling of intestine, pain in the abdomen, fever, loss of appetite, digestive problems and diarrhea. Depending on the area affected it may cause ulcerous growth like sores and inflammation. Fistulas may be formed on the rectal area causing pain along with pus like discharge.
Your doctor may perform colonoscopy or CT scan of abdomen for detecting the intensity of the problem. If needed, MRI test may be done for identifying the depth of illness. Stool test, blood test and barium enema are also done in some cases.
Basically ileocolitis is formed due to acidity and inflammation of the ileum (colon) and hence avoid eating in bulk. You can try eating small meals frequently and drink lot of water. Take healthy nutritious diet that contains high fiber quantity. Avoid eating fatty or fried foods and limit your intake of milk and milk related products, in case you have problems of digestion while eating dairy products.
You can take loperamide to manage diarrhea. To control pain you can take aspirin or ibuprofen.
Prescription medicines include aminosalicylates, sufasalazine and corticosteroids. Some doctors prescribe azathioprine for treating ileocolitis that would control the immune system response. Biologic therapy is also recommended for patients with severe forms of Crohn’s disease. Antibiotics are given for patients for whom bacterial infection is the cause for inflammation.
Some people need to be hospitalized and feeding is done through nasogastric method or put on intravenous fluids, for giving rest to the colon.
In severe cases, surgery of bowel resection is done for removing the damaged part of the intestine. Again surgery is the only option for patients with hemorrhage and fistulas.
Herbal remedy comes in the form of Aloe Vera resin, cascara sagrada and other laxative herbs. You can increase the intake of catalyst herbs like ginger, cloves, cayenne and cinnamon.
Switching over to vegetarian diet is highly beneficial for patients who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and bowel inflammatory disease. You can also try taking lukewarm water added with sea salt or a cup of celery juice.
If left untreated for long time, ileocolitis can cause bowel obstruction and ulcers. Since the walls of the colon become thick, it can restrict normal bowel movement which may cause ulcerous growth on its walls. There is chance for developing malnutrition due to lack of appetite and in rare cases, it may lead to cancer on the colon or rectum.