Indy Gastro | Colonoscopy, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, constipation, endoscopy

Ulcerative Colitis

Definition

Ulcerative colitis is a disease that causes inflammation and sores, called ulcers, in the lining of the rectum and colon. When the inflammation occurs in the rectum and lower part of the colon it is called ulcerative proctitis.

Causes

Many theories exist about what causes ulcerative colitis. People with ulcerative colitis have abnormalities of the immune system, but doctors do not know whether these abnormalities are a cause or a result of the disease. The body’s immune system is believed to react abnormally to the bacteria in the digestive tract. People with relatives with Ulcerative Colitis may be more likely to develop the condition. There has been some suspension that certain medications may increase changes of U.C. flares.

Diagnosis

Many tests are used to diagnose Ulcerative Colitis. A physical exam and medical history are usually the first step. The patient may also be asked to get a stool sample tested.  A colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy is also used in diagnosing Ulcerative Colitis

Complications

Occasionally, symptoms are severe enough that a person must be hospitalized. For example, a person may have severe bleeding or severe diarrhea that causes dehydration. In such cases the doctor will try to stop diarrhea and loss of blood and fluids. The patient may need a special diet, feeding through a vein, medications, or sometimes surgery

Treatment

Each person will have a different treatment plan for Ulcerative Colitis because the disease can act differently with each person. There are medications that can help relieve the symptoms of U.C. In severe cases surgery may be needed

Diet and emotions

Ulcerative colitis is not caused by emotional distress or sensitivity to certain foods or food products, but these factors may trigger symptoms in some people. The stress of living with ulcerative colitis may also contribute to a worsening of symptoms.

Summary

Ulcerative colitis symptoms can be different for each person. Some people have remissions—periods when the symptoms go away—that last for months or even years. However, most patients’ symptoms eventually return. There are medications that can help control Ulcerative colitis symptoms.

Organizations

Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America - www.ccfa.org

American Gastroenterological Association - www.gastro.com

American College of Gastroenterology - www.acg.gi.org

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