WHAT IS ULCERATIVE COLITIS?
Ulcerative colitis occurs when the large intestine lining and rectum become inflamed. It’s an inflammatory bowel disease that can lead to sores and inflammation in your digestive tract and a myriad of unpleasant symptoms.
Ulcerative colitis is often debilitating and may lead to serious complications, such as severe bleeding, an increased risk of colon cancer, a hole in your colon, and blood clots if left untreated. Treatment can reduce symptoms and restore your quality of life.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ULCERATIVE COLITIS?
The following signs and symptoms can indicate you have ulcerative colitis:
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea with pus or blood
- Rectal bleeding or pain
- Weight loss
- Failure to grow in children
- Inability to defecate, despite the urge to
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis can range from mild to severe and may come and go.
WHAT CAUSES ULCERATIVE COLITIS?
The cause of ulcerative colitis isn’t entirely clear, but problems with your immune system and genetics may play a role in its development. Risk factors of ulcerative colitis include being younger than 30, being white, or having a family history of the disease. However, anybody can develop the disease.
HOW IS ULCERATIVE COLITIS DIAGNOSED?
To diagnose ulcerative colitis, your doctor reviews your medical history and asks questions about your symptoms. They complete a comprehensive physical examination and may use blood tests, stool tests, colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or imaging procedures to diagnose your condition and establish a treatment that best suits your needs.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR ULCERATIVE COLITIS?
Your gastroenterologist might recommend one or more of the following ulcerative colitis treatments:
Certain lifestyle changes help relieve symptoms associated with ulcerative colitis. Examples include managing stress, making dietary changes, getting regular exercise, drinking lots of fluids, and eating smaller meals.
Alternative therapies for ulcerative colitis your doctor might recommend include acupuncture or probiotics, fish oil, and other dietary supplements.
Numerous medications may help relieve ulcerative colitis symptoms. Your doctor works with you to determine which medicine best matches your needs.
If lifestyle changes and medications haven’t worked for you, your gastroenterologist might suggest surgery to remove a portion of your colon and rectum.