The name of this condition provides some basic insight into what it is. ‘Col’—referring to the colon and ‘itis’ referring to irritation or pain. This description can actually be applied to any of the inflammatory bowel conditions. An example is Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
But this does not give us any insight as to what it is like to experience colitis-the symptoms. The classic colitis symptom is diarrhea. By example people suffering with IBS will experience anything from sporadic to frequent loose stools / diarrhea. The difference with colitis is that it has graduated to being daily- almost constant 24/7 urgent diarrhea that often results in ‘accidents.’ This can happen at any time but is especially common right after eating a meal.
But that’s not the end of it. Left unattended colitis will eventually manifest as ulcerative colitis. This occurs when there has been a perforation-a hole that goes right through the colon wall. Now you will have a bigger problem. Not only will you have even more relentless diarrhea but there will be anywhere from traces to copious amounts of blood in the soft -mushy stool. This belies the fact that a blood vessel wall has also been perforated.
With ulcerative colitis one has graduated from an extremely annoying lifestyle crippling condition to one of danger. This will not just go away on it’s own. Remission is a myth. Unlike many people—especially men- don’t try to bite the bullet and tough it out. Certainly if you have not already done so you will need to either go to a nearby emergency room and/or schedule an appt with your primary care / gastroenterologist.
This is what can happen when you when you choose to ignore something that is ‘irritating’ and hope that it will just go away-it won’t.
Lastly-on a positive note. This is all fixable—we can put humpty-dumpty back together again. But the longer you wait the longer it takes.