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Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Contributors: Amirah Khan MD, Paritosh Prasad MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Colitis is a broad term used to describe inflammation of the colon. Etiologies include inflammatory bowel disease, infectious colitis, microscopic colitis, ischemia, medication-associated colitis, radiation colitis, diversion colitis, graft-versus-host disease, and diverticulitis. In terms of special populations, neonates are at risk for necrotizing enterocolitis and immunocompromised patients are at risk for neutropenic enterocolitis.

Symptoms of colitis vary depending on etiology but can include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and hematochezia. Systemic symptoms such as fevers and chills may be present. Risk factors for colitis vary depending on the specific etiology. It is sometimes associated with somatic mutations in the NFKBIZ, TRAF3IP2, PIGR, or ARID1A genes.

For discussion of specific colitis diagnoses, see the following.

Infectious colitis caused by, eg:
Drug-induced colitis caused by, eg:
  • NSAIDs
  • Checkpoint inhibitors, eg, ipilimumab, nivolumab
  • See Drug Reaction Data below for further information
In addition:


K52.9 – Noninfective gastroenteritis and colitis, unspecified

64226004 – Colitis

Look For

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Irritable bowel syndrome – can be seen in patients of all ages with a history of intermittent diarrhea and constipation.
  • Lactose intolerance – can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain in both children and adults.

Best Tests

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Management Pearls

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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Last Reviewed:03/20/2018
Last Updated:10/31/2022
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A medical illustration showing key findings of Colitis : Abdominal pain, Chills, Diarrhea, Fever, Hematochezia
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