Ulcerative colitis is a condition that affects your digestive system, specifically the colon (a part of your intestines). It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In ulcerative colitis, there is inflammation and the formation of sores or ulcers in the inner lining of the colon. This can lead to uncomfortable symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and bleeding.
Ulcerative colitis is different from another type of IBD called Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus, while ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon.
If you have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, you may experience symptoms that can disrupt your daily life. At The Gut Clinic UK, our specialists have experience in diagnosing and treating ulcerative colitis. We work closely with patients to provide relief from these symptoms and improve their well-being. If you need help with ulcerative colitis, reach out to a specialist in your community for assistance.
there are a few different types of ulcerative colitis, which are categorised based on the location of inflammation in the colon:
-Ulcerative proctitis: This type of ulcerative colitis affects only the rectum, which is the lowest part of the colon. It tends to be the mildest form and is characterized by rectal bleeding.
– Left-sided colitis: In this type, inflammation extends beyond the rectum and affects the sigmoid colon (part of the lower left side) and descending colon (the left side of the colon). Symptoms can include bloody diarrhoea and unintended weight loss.
– Pancolitis: Also known as extensive colitis, this type affects the entire colon. Symptoms can be severe and may include severe bloody diarrhea, intense abdominal pain, and fatigue.
Acute severe ulcerative colitis: This is a rare and severe form of ulcerative colitis that affects the entire colon. It can cause intense pain and make it difficult to eat. Hospitalization is often required, and there is an increased risk of surgery.
These different types of ulcerative colitis have varying levels of severity and can affect different parts of the colon. It’s important to work with a healthcare professional to properly diagnose and manage the specific type of ulcerative colitis you have.
The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is still unknown, but there are certain factors that can contribute to its development and symptoms.
– Genetics: Inheriting certain genes from your parents can increase your risk of developing ulcerative colitis. Family history plays a role in determining susceptibility.
– Immune system: Ulcerative colitis may be triggered when bacteria or viruses enter your digestive tract. Your immune system responds by sending white blood cells to fight off the invader. Unfortunately, in the case of ulcerative colitis, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue and cells in the colon, leading to inflammation.
Risk factors for ulcerative colitis:
– Age: Ulcerative colitis often appears before the age of 30, although it can develop at any age.
– Race or ethnicity: Caucasians and people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent are at a higher risk of developing ulcerative colitis. However, the condition can affect individuals of any race or ethnicity.
– Family history: Having a family member with ulcerative colitis increases your chances of developing the condition.
These factors contribute to the likelihood of developing ulcerative colitis, but the precise cause remains uncertain. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and management of the condition.
The symptoms of ulcerative colitis can appear gradually and can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:
– Blood in the stool: Seeing blood in your bowel movements is a notable sign of ulcerative colitis.
– Diarrhoea with pus or blood: Frequent loose stools that may contain pus or blood can occur.
– Constipation: Some people with ulcerative colitis may experience difficulty passing stool or infrequent bowel movements.
– Rectal pain: Pain or discomfort in the rectal area can be a symptom.
– Fever: A fever may develop as a result of the inflammation.
– Abdominal pain: Cramping or pain in the abdomen is common.
– Stomach cramps: Cramps and discomfort in the stomach can occur.
– Mouth sores: Ulcerative colitis can lead to sores in the mouth.
– Sudden weight loss: Unintentional weight loss can happen.
– Loss of normal menstrual cycle: Women with ulcerative colitis may experience changes in their menstrual cycle.
– Pain or drainage near or around the anus: Discomfort or discharge in the anal area may occur.
If you notice blood in your stool, it’s important to contact your physician immediately. If you experience any of the above symptoms or a combination of them persistently, it is recommended to see a gastroenterologist, who specializes in digestive system disorders. At The Gut Clinic UK, our gastroenterologists are experienced in providing skilled care for ulcerative colitis and can help treat and manage these symptoms.
The main goals of treating ulcerative colitis at GI Alliance are to control inflammation and achieve remission of the disease. It is also important to screen for colon cancer, as individuals with ulcerative colitis have a higher risk of developing it. The primary categories of treatments for ulcerative colitis include:
– Antibiotics: These medications can help eliminate bacteria that contribute to the abnormal immune response and inflammation. They are not the main treatment but can be used in combination with other therapies.
– Anti-inflammatory drugs: Corticosteroids and oral 5-aminosalicylates are commonly used anti-inflammatory medications. Corticosteroids help reduce inflammation in the body and can be combined with immune system suppressors. Oral 5-aminosalicylates also help to decrease inflammation.
– Additional medications and supplements: Your healthcare provider may recommend other medications and supplements to manage ulcerative colitis symptoms. These may include anti-diarrheal medications, vitamin B-12 shots, iron supplements, calcium, and vitamin D supplements.
– Long-term anti-inflammatory therapies: These treatments target the abnormal immune response in the body and may include medications such as tofacitinib, infliximab, adalimumab, azathioprine, certolizumab, ustekinumab, natalizumab, vedolizumab, and methotrexate.
– Nutrition and diet: Your gastroenterologist may suggest a special diet to alleviate symptoms and promote remission.
– Surgery: In severe cases of ulcerative colitis, surgery may be necessary to remove a part or the entire colon or rectum.
These various treatment approaches aim to control inflammation, manage symptoms, and improve the overall well-being of individuals with ulcerative colitis. Your healthcare provider will guide you in determining the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific condition.
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