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What is the treatment for chronic radiation colitis?

Radiation colitis is inflammation to the lower parts of the colon after exposure to radiation therapy seen most commonly after treatment for cancers such as cervical cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. Symptoms typically involve the sigmoid colon and the rectum.

Symptoms may begin as early as several months but can occur several years after therapy is completed, and can include diarrhea, rectal bleeding of painful bowel movements. 

Symptoms such as diarrhea and painful bowel movements can be treated with stool softeners or pain medications. Severe symptoms are very rare, but can require surgical intervention.  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy and corticosteroids have also been used more recently with good success.

Mark E. Chisam, MD
Radiation Oncology

Radiation colitis is inflammation to the lower parts of the colon after exposure to radiation therapy seen most commonly after treatment for cancers such as cervical cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. Symptoms typically involve the sigmoid colon and the rectum.

Symptoms may begin as early as several months but can occur several years after therapy is completed, and can include diarrhea, rectal bleeding of painful bowel movements. 

Symptoms such as diarrhea and painful bowel movements can be treated with stool softeners or pain medications. Severe symptoms are very rare, but can require surgical intervention. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy and corticosteroids have also been used more recently with good success.

Ajay K. Sahajpal, MD
Transplant Surgery
Radiation colitis or proctitis is a side effect of radiation treatment to the abdomen or pelvis and results in inflammation of the colonic/rectal wall, which can present with diarrhea and bleeding on occasion.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.