This is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-term inflammation of cells in rectum and colon (also known as large intestine). This inflammation can lead to ulcers, called sores, which can bleed and affect digestion. You can take medication to reduce inflammation and learn strategies to reduce its impact on your daily life.
Pain in abdomen. If abdominal pain is accompanied by bloody diarrhea, this may be a sign of ulcerative colitis. These symptoms range from rare and mild to persistent and severe. Here is a section of large intestine with typical ulcerative colitis changes.
Weight loss. Long-term inflammation of colon can cause digestive problems that can lead to:
Some people with ulcerative colitis have symptoms outside digestive system. These measures may include:
The symptoms of ulcerative colitis are similar to those of another inflammatory bowel disease called Crohn's disease. The main difference is that ulcerative colitis occurs only in colon. Crohn's disease can occur in different parts of digestive tract, so you may experience symptoms anywhere from your anus to your mouth. Irritable bowel syndrome is another condition known as chronic abdominal pain and diarrhea, but it does not cause inflammation or pain in intestines.
What is frequency of ulcerative colitis?
It affects 150 out of every 100,000 people. It usually develops between ages of 15 and 25, although you can get it at any age. Ulcerative colitis tends to run in families and is more common in whites. People of Eastern European Jewish descent are at higher risk for disease.What causes ulcerative colitis?
The exact cause is unknown, but researchers suspect that immune system—the body's defense against germs—has something to do with it. When you have ulcerative colitis, your immune cells may not respond normally to bacteria in your digestive tract. Doctors aren't sure if this caused condition or its result. Stress or diet may make your symptoms worse, but they do not cause ulcerative colitis.Diagnosis of ulcerative colitis
The most accurate way to detect ulcerative colitis is a colonoscopy. During this procedure, doctor inserts a small camera into rectum to take a close look at inside of colon. You will know if you have inflammation or ulcers in this area. A colonoscopy can also help doctors rule out Crohn's disease, diverticulitis, and cancer.
The course of nonspecific ulcerative colitis can replace each other. During remission period, you may not experience any discomfort. This period can last for months or years, but symptoms eventually return.Urgent care for ulcerative colitis
The illness can sometimes lead to complications that can lead to hospitalization. These can be ulcers that bleed profusely, or severe diarrhea that causes dehydration. If this happens to you, your doctor will take steps to stop loss of blood and fluid. If you have a tear in your colon, you may need surgery to repair it.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) and colon cancer
If you have ulcerative colitis, your risk of developing colon cancer is increased. The risk increases with number and severity of colon. The risk also increases after you have had UC for eight to ten years, and continues to increase over time. Treatment aimed at achieving remission of UC may reduce risk. Colonoscopy may improve chances of early detection of colon cancer because it is easier to treat.
Other complications of ulcerative colitis
Some people with ulcerative colitis have osteoporosis, arthritis, kidney stones, vision problems such as uveitis, and, in rare cases, liver disease. Researchers believe that you may develop these complications due to widespread inflammation caused by your immune system. These problems may improve when ulcerative colitis is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs.Treatment of ulcerative colitis
Medicines for ulcerative colitis
The purpose of drug is to relieve inflammation in colon. Usually first choice is a preparation containing aminosalicylates. If this does not help, doctor may prescribe a steroid, such as prednisolone. A third option is immunomodulators, which reduce inflammation by altering activity of immune system. It may take up to 3 months before you feel benefits.
This is latest treatment for ulcerative colitis. Most of these drugs help your body break down a protein associated with inflammation called tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Usually, this drug, also called an anti-TNF drug, is administered intravenously. A newer biologic drug called vedolizumab works differently without affecting TNF. If your current treatment is not working, your doctor may recommend biological therapy.
Treatment with whiplash
Research has shown mixed results regarding effectiveness of this treatment for ulcerative colitis. The idea stems from fact that disease is rare in developing countries where intestinal parasites are more common. Some researchers believe that worms may alter response of immune system in gut. More research is needed.
Surgical treatment of ulcerative colitis
Up to 45% of patients with ulcerative colitis eventually require surgery to either repair a tear or remove a severely damaged colon. After colon is removed by surgeon, ulcerative colitis will never return. New surgical techniques mean that people who have had their colons removed often don't need an external waste collection bag called a colostomy bag.
Ulcerative colitis in children
If your child has ulcerative colitis, he may have a poor appetite. Children with UC may not eat enough calories or have difficulty absorbing nutrients from foods they eat. To avoid problems with growth, doctor may recommend high-calorie foods, and if your child is embarrassed by urgent trips to toilet, a therapist who specializes in chronic diseases can help him learn strategies for managing situation.Fight against ulcerative colitis
Controlling Ulcerative Colitis: Reducing Triggers
Various triggers can make your symptoms worse. Some common problems are stress, smoking, lack of medication, and eating certain foods. Try to identify your personal triggers and take steps to avoid them. For example, you can try meditation to manage stress, or use a daily pill to remember each dose.
Control of ulcerative colitis: dietary changes
Diet does not cause ulcerative colitis, but certain foods can make symptoms worse. Common culprits are dairy, fatty foods, and too much fiber, which can cause diarrhea. You may find it helpful to keep a diary of what you eat and any symptoms you experience. Look for links and try to avoid questionable "triggers".
Ulcerative Colitis Control: Supplements
Because ulcerative colitis often causes bleeding in colon, a lack of iron in body can lead to anemia. Some ulcerative colitis medications can interfere with absorption of nutrients such as folic acid and calcium. Ask your doctor if you need to take appropriate supplements.
Ulcerative colitis control: probiotics
Generally speaking, probiotics are "friendly" bacteria, similar to those found in gut, that help prevent growth of too many bad bacteria. More research is needed to see if probiotics can help relieve ulcerative colitis. Probiotics are added to some yogurts, milk, drinks, etc.
Control of ulcerative colitis: stay hydrated
Chronic diarrhea increases risk of dehydration, which can lead to weakness and kidney problems. To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of water, you may need to drink half a liter of water a day.