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Acute or chronic inflammation of the membrane of the colon, also known as ulcerative colitis.
Persons most commonly affected: Any age, but it usually starts between the ages of 15 and 30, and less frequently between 50 and 70 years of age. It affects men and women equally.
Organ or part of body involved: Colon
Symptoms and indications: Pain, tenderness in the abdomen, fever, swelling of the colon tissue, bleeding, erythema (redness) of the surface of the colon, rectal bleeding, and ulcerations of the colon.
Causes and risk factors: One of the causes of colitis is chronic constipation and the use of purgatives. Constipation causes an accumulation of the hard faecal matter which is never properly evacuated. Purgatives used as a \'cure\' only increase irritation. Often colitis results from poorly digested roughage, especially of cereals and carbohydrates, which causes bowel irritation. Other causes of the disease are an allergic sensitivity to certain foods, intake of antibiotics and severe stress.
Prevention: Changes in diet can be effective at treating the symptoms of colitis and easing the side effects. These can include reducing the intake of carbohydrates, lactose products, soft drinks and caffeine. Citrus juices should be avoided. White sugar, white bread, and white flour products; highly seasoned foods; highly salted foods; strong tea, coffee, and alcoholic beverages; and foods cooked in aluminum pans should also be avoided.