The colon is a long, coiled, tubelike organ that reabsorbs or removes fluids from the digested food. The remaining solid waste, called stool, moves through the colon to the rectum and is finally expelled out of the body through the anus. The colon is a common site of infection by bacteria, viruses or parasites. Colon Infections can also be called as colitis or inflammation of the colon.
Colon infections can be caused by bacteria or viruses. Contaminated water, food, or poor hygiene are some of the ways how these pathogens might enter your body. Common pathogens tested are Microorganisms like Salmonella, campylobacter, Shigella, Escherichia coli (E. coli) as well as parasitic infections such as Amebiasis and Giardiasis .
If you have an inflamed or infected colon, you are likely to have the below symptoms.
- Severe Stomach pain or cramping
- Weight loss
- Constant Fatigue
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Loss of appetite
- Tenderness in the abdomen
- Frequent bowel movement which is as frequent as 10-15 times a day
Treatment may vary depending on the cause of the infection. Mostly it is treated by the medication or diet changes.
- Diet is an important part as you may benefit from eating food which Is easy on your stomach and helps control diarrhoea. Keeping track of and avoiding foods that trigger or make your symptoms worse should be avoided. Eat smaller portions but 5-6 meals throughout the day and refrain from eating food that might increase the stool output, such as coffee.
- Drink plenty of water or coconut water and avoid alcoholic or fizzy drinks. Ginger water and peppermint tea are also good options.
- Stop smoking and intake of alcohol
- Wash your hands or sanitize them because ingesting food with contaminated hands may allow bacteria to enter your stomach and then the colon
- Probiotics may help in clearing the infection.
- If your symptoms don’t improve in two days, you should visit and consult your doctor and may need antibiotics or medications for stomach pain and diarrhea . You may also need a stool test in some cases to detect the exact causative organism .
The treatment advised depends on the causative pathogens, on the symptoms, or the need for supportive care. Antibiotics, amebic medications , anti spasmodic drugs, or anti-diarrheal
medications are a few of the medicines that are used. Your doctor might prescribe additional supplements and probiotics as well . It is important to know that some strains of bacteria causing this infection can become resistant to some antibiotics by mutating. In these cases, your doctor might stop antibiotics and use a different antibiotic that targets the bacteria.
It is essential to note that one should not consume alcohol while taking certain antibiotics like metronidazole as they might end up making the situation worse. Usually, mild symptoms like diarrhoea are self-limited and improve on its own with additional care, including rest and a short course of a clear-fluid diet.
When to see your doctor?
Talk to your doctor if you are suffering from prolonged diarrhoea, severe stomach cramps, or blood in your stool. Do not neglect symptoms that are persisting beyond a week or are affecting your quality of life as they may be a signal to a severe condition that needs urgent medical intervention.
The symptoms of colon infection, can cause discomfort and impact your quality of life. The good news is, there are treatment options that can help. Talk to your doctor to plan the course of treatment that can work well with you.