Infectious colitis and ulcerative colitis cause colon inflammation but have different causes.
Infectious colitis and ulcerative colitis have similar symptoms. It’s important to speak with a doctor if you develop diarrhea, abdominal pain, or blood in your stool, especially if these persist.
Let’s discuss the similarities and differences of infectious colitis and ulcerative colitis. We look at the causes, symptoms, and risk factors, among other considerations.
Infectious colitis refers to colon or intestinal inflammation that results from a bacterial or viral infection. Bacteria and viruses that cause this condition
- Escherichia coli (E. coli)
Stress may worsen IBD symptoms or increase your chance of experiencing a flare-up.
IBD (including ulcerative colitis)
- tenesmus (frequent and urgent feeling that you need to pass stool, even if your bowels are already empty)
- abdominal pain
- blood in the stool
- fecal urgency (a sudden need to relieve yourself)
If your condition is severe, you may also feel very tired, nauseated, or develop a fever.
Remission can also occur sometimes. For example, symptoms may disappear for weeks or years, but then they may return.
If you have infectious colitis, your symptoms may be
- rectal pain
You may want to seek medical care if you have any of the above symptoms or diarrhea that lasts for more than 4 weeks. A doctor may evaluate your symptoms, provide a diagnosis, and also a treatment plan.
Rectal infections include:
- Chlamydia trachomatis
- herpes simplex 1 and 2
- Neisseria gonorrhoeae
Ulcerative colitis is not an infection, so you cannot get it if you come into contact with someone with the condition.
It can affect people of any sex.
You may have an increased chance of developing ulcerative colitis if your parents or siblings already have it, though this is not always the case.
To diagnose infectious colitis, a healthcare professional may ask about your symptoms and medical history.
- Stool test: This test checks whether there are bacteria present in your stool.
- Abdominal CT scan: This scan may be used to diagnose bacterial colitis if you have an empty colon or no enlarged lymph nodes.
- Pelvic CT scan: This scan may show whether you have a thickened colonic wall.
- Colonoscopy: This procedure is used to check for colonic ulcerations.
For ulcerative colitis, blood and stool tests are also common.
A doctor may recommend other tests, including:
- chromoendoscopy, which checks whether you have polyps or precancerous cells.
- biopsy, which involves removing a small tissue sample from your intestine so that it can be tested in a laboratory
A doctor may use a contrast chemical that you take orally or intravenously to help provide a detailed image of your digestive organs.
Infectious colitis treatment usually
If the infection is serious, your doctor may prescribe oral vancomycin and add intravenous metronidazole if complications arise.
In the case of ulcerative colitis, treatment may include
- rectal suppositories
- biologics, such as infliximab, if you’re in hospital
Sometimes, people may undergo colectomy, a procedure that involves removing parts of the colon. It can be an option if medications do not work or you experience uncontrollable bleeding or side effects from medications.
Infectious colitis and ulcerative colitis are conditions that cause diarrhea, tenesmus, and blood in the stool.
You may have a higher chance of developing infectious colitis if you get a bacterial or viral infection. It can also affect people with STIs.
Ulcerative colitis is more likely to develop if you have a family history of the condition.