Cryptitis is a term
that is used to
describe one of the abnormalities that is seen under the microscope when tissue from
the small intestinal or colon is examined. The crypts are normal tubular
structures composed of cells that extend into the walls of the intestines. These crypts
contain the cells that give rise to all of the other cells that migrate
out of the crypts and then line the inner surface of the intestines.
Inflammation of the crypts is known as cryptitis. Cryptitis is
seen in inflammatory bowel disease, both Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, but
it also can be seen in other inflammatory conditions of
the intestines. It is not a disease itself but a microscopical manifestation of several different
Cryptitis also may refer to inflammation in the anus. Two centimeters from the anal orifice (anus) the lining tissue of the anus begins to change into the specialized lining of the colon. This junction is called the pectinate line. At the pectinate line are small mounds of tissue that protrude into the anus. Between these protrusions into the anus are small out-pouchings from the anus and into the surrounding tissues. These out-pouchings are the anal crypts. Although they are covered with flaps of anal lining tissue, the anal crypts communicate with the anus and colon above. Inflammation of the crypts, probably caused by the trauma of passing stool and/or infection, is referred to as cryptitis. If infection progresses, it can extend further into the surrounding tissues and lead to the formation of an abscess or fistula.
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