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Ulcerative Colitis

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Ulcerative colitis infects the colon producing small sores and openings in the colon, releasing pus and mucous. The disease is chronic in nature, causing inflammation and ulcers in the large intestine. Abdominal discomfort accompanies this disorder.

Ulcerative colitis is caused by the malfunction of the immune system in which the body turns its defense mechanism against the food material present inside the intestine. As a result, the white blood cells swarm the targeted area causing ulcers and wounds.

Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

This infection is associated with has mild symptoms, but needs immediate attention regardless of the severity of the symptoms. The symptoms may include:

  • Due to the infection in the colon, the colon keeps on emptying itself frequently and thus bowel movements become more loose and urgent.
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in stool
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue and low energy levels

Your Physician Consultation

Your physician consultation will involve a general medical history intake and a complete detail review of digestive problems ( Q and A for Your Doctor ) Blood and stool samples are usually tested to observe the rate of erythrocyte sedimentation and more.

  • C –reactive protein tests that reveals the amount of inflammation in the blood.
  • Appearance and consistency of the stool is checked for signs of infection.
  • X-rays may be performed. 

The following procedures may be performed to check the extent of inflammation by imaging the inside of the rectum.

Sigmoidoscopy may be performed by inserting a camera inside the rectum and the lower part of the colon.

Colonoscopy may be performed to detailed imaging of the colon and large intestine.  

Conditions that May be Associated with Ulcerative Colitis

Intestinal disorders that may be associated with ulcerative colitis include:

  • Mouth Ulcers
  • Arthritis Of joints
  • Deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism
  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • Finger deformities like clubbing

Ulcerative Colitis Treatments

Ulcerative Colitis is best treated at a hospital because of the added risk of blood loss due to severe anemia associated with the condition. To replace nutrients that may be lost to persistent diarrhea, medications are part of the treatment plan. Medications may also include: 

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs such as Sulfasalazine, Mesalamine and corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.
  • Immune system suppressors to undermine the over-excited immune system mechanisms.
  • Anti-diarrheals, if necessary
  • Antibiotics
  • Pain relievers to ease abdominal discomfort.

If the problem persists even after medication and a healthy lifestyle, then surgery may be an option. There are two types of procedures that are performed to remedy ulcerative colitis, including:

  • Proctolectomy (removal of the entire colon)
  • Ileoanal anastomosis (attaching a stool bag at the end of the small intestine).

Ulcerative Colitis Outcome

People experiencing ulcerative colitis may go through alternative phases of flare up symptoms and quiet stages of remission. Certain people get no episodes of remission and have to manage through the continual disease.

  • 10% people suffering from this disease have serious complications like bleeding or perforation.
  • 10% to 40% of the people with this disease require surgery.

In select cases, there is an increased risk of colon cancer if active ulcerative colitis has been going on for a long time period.

Next Visit, Q and A for Your Doctor

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition.