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Systemic colitis is inflammation of the colon with additional symptoms outside the colon involving other areas of the body. People with colitis, or more commonly called ulcerative colitis, often have conditions outside the colon. This varies in each individual.
Affected Areas Outside the Colon
Areas outside the colon that can be affected are the mouth, eyes, joints, skin, fingers, bile ducts, legs and lungs.
Symptoms of Areas Affected
Some patients with systemic colitis can have one or more of these complications: ulcers in the mouth, inflammation of the iris, joint pain/inflammation, skin lesions, finger deformities, inflammation of bile ducts, deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and autoimmune hemolytic anemia.
Possible Cause of Systemic Colitis
An immune system that reacts abnormally to bacteria in the digestive tract is believed to be the cause of ulcerative colitis. Complications outside the colon may be caused by inflammation that is triggered by the immune system.
Doctors That Treat Systemic Colitis
A gastroenterologist treats the symptoms of colitis, but a patient with symptoms outside the colon would have to see more than one doctor for treatment of the other involved area(s). For example, a rheumatologist would treat arthritis symptoms.
Drug Treatments for Systemic Colitis
Aminosalicylates and corticosteroids help reduce inflammation. Immunomodulators help inflammation by affecting the immune system and are only used when patients do not respond to the first two treatments. The systemic complications outside the colon often go away when the colitis is treated.