What is eosinophilic colitis?

Eosinophilic colitis is a primary inflammation of the intestine associated with a large number of white blood cells flooding the region. The condition appears to be the result of a hypersensitivity response in the immune system, and is treatable with medication and dietary modifications. It usually appears in newborns and young adults and must be diagnosed carefully to avoid confusion with other conditions.

Numerous problems can cause colitis, a general term for intestinal inflammation that can vary in severity depending on the mucous membranes involved. Patients experience similar symptoms with all forms, including loose stools, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. The stool may be bloody in some cases and may contain heavy strands of mucus. Infection, inflammatory conditions, reactions to foreign objects, and some genetic conditions can cause colitis. This condition can be common in young children or people under stress that may be related to travel, major life changes, or personal problems.

Eosinophilic colitis is a primary inflammation; There is no underlying cause or explanation for the condition. The patient's intestine develops a state of inflammation that can worsen without treatment. Immediate care for eosinophilic colitis may include corticosteroids to treat inflammation along with intestinal-protective medications to treat lesions. Dietary modifications such as increasing fiber can also help increase patient comfort, reduce swelling, and solidify stool.

Careful medical evaluation is necessary in case of suspected eosinophilic colitis. If it is actually caused by an underlying process in the patient's body, omitting the cause could mean that treatment is not appropriate. This could cause delays in treatment that could cause complications. For example, if the patient has a foreign object in the intestine, it could rupture, requiring emergency surgery to correct the problem.

Some colitis exams may include tests of fecal samples to detect microorganisms and abnormal levels of white blood cells, x-rays and other images to look at the intestine, biopsy of the intestinal lining, or blood tests to evaluate the patient. These measures may be recommended to get to the root cause and confirm a diagnosis of eosinophilic colitis through the process of elimination. Treatment should continue until the patient is fully recovered and the bowel has returned to normal. It is important to support the patient with rest and fluids, as colitis-associated diarrhea can cause fluid loss that can put the patient at risk of dehydration and serious complications.

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