Ulcerative colitis is when you have inflammation, irritation and/or ulcers in the lining of your colon. This is not very common in the fact that there are less than 200,000 cases per year. There is no cure for ulcerative colitis. Though symptoms can be managed to where life can be manageable.
People with ulcerative colitis may not experience symptoms everyday. There may be periods of time when symptoms go away for awhile before presenting again.
Ulcerative colitis is an immune deficiency disease. It is when your immune system attacks, food, and good gut bacteria that lines your stomach. The food you eat and stress do not cause flare ups. No one knows the cause of ulcerative colitis, it could be genetic. If you have someone in your family that suffers from ulcerative colitis you have a 30% greater chance of having it yourself.
There are many symptoms that can be associated with ulcerative colitis. The problem is some of these symptoms can be linked to other diseases as well. Sometimes symptoms can flare up, but then go away for weeks, months or even years.
The main symptom linked to ulcerative colitis is bloody diarrhea. You can also suffer from cramping, belly pain, urges to have a bowel movement, not feeling hungry, weight loss, fatigue, fever, dehydration, joint pain, canker sores, eye pain, anemia, skin sores, incontinence, and waking up in the middle of the night needing to go to the bathroom.
You can have a few of these at a time you may not experience severe symptoms at all it all depends on your type of ulcerative colitis and the severity of your specific case.
There are different types of ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative proctitis– is a mild form, found in the rectum and usually the only symptom is rectal bleeding.
Proctosigmoiditis– is found in the rectum and lower part of the colon, symptoms can include bloody diarrhea, belly cramps, pain, feeling to have a bowel movement but can’t pass one.
Left-sided colitis– is found in the rectum and up the left side of the colon, it can cause cramps on the left side of the belly, bloody diarrhea, loss of weight suddenly and inflammation.
Pancolitis– affects the entire colon, symptoms are usually severe, with bloody diarrhea, belly cramps, pain, fatigue, weight loss.
Acute severe ulcerative colitis– this is a very rare form, that affects the entire colon, symptoms include severe pain, heavy diarrhea, beeding, and fever.
To diagnose you will need to see a doctor. Your doctor will start with blood tests and maybe even a stool sample. If those come back with results showing a possibility of ulcerative colitis your doctor may want to run a couple more tests.
You may be sent to have x-rays to see if there is any inflammation in your colon.
Another procedure your doctor may do is a colonoscopy. This is an outpatient procedure that you will have to do a prep for. The prep usually consists of having to drink a liquid that makes you go to the bathroom a lot. This is to try and clean your colon out as much as possible. Then during the procedure your doctor will use a colonoscope. The colonoscope has a tiny camera attached to it so your doctor can see the inside of your rectum and your entire colon looking for inflammation, irritation, or ulcers. This procedure can take between 30 minutes to an hour. Afterwards you will be able to go home.
Another outpatient procedure your doctor may want to do is a flexible sigmoidoscopy. Very similar to the colonoscopy but instead of looking at your full colon it just looks at the lower part. This procedure uses a sigmoidscope, which also has a tiny camera for the doctor to be able to take a better look at the lower part of your colon.
Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or irritable bowel syndrome.
Ulcerative Colitis-only affects large intestines (colon) and the lining.
Crohn’s disease- affects other parts of the digestive tract not just colon and is usually just inflammation of the digestive tract.
Irritable Bowel syndrome- has the same symptoms of ulcerative colitis, but there is no inflammation or ulcers.
There is no cure for ulcerative colitis. Treating your symptoms and making your symptoms manageable is the goal if you are diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. The goal of treatment is to make you feel better, give your colon time to heal between flare ups, and then to finally try and prevent flare ups from happening often or at all. Foods can cause discomfort and for some symptoms to occur, but food is not the cause of ulcerative colitis. If you see that some foods are just harder on your system then others try avoiding those foods. Keep a journal of what you are eating and your symptoms after meals to see if you can distinguish certain foods that may cause symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe you some medication to help control symptoms, such as antibiotics, aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, immunomodulators, biologics, or loperamide. Surgery can sometimes be an option but that is only if your case is severe. A surgeon can go in and remove your colon, or just part of it depending on what type of ulcerative colitis you have, or your rectum if necessary. This is done rarely and only in extreme cases.
Ulcerative colitis is not curable, but can be managed to where you can live a normal life. If you get diagnosed your doctor will work with you on a plan to get your symptoms managed and hopefully decrease the amount of flare ups you have. Some people go years between issues with ulcerative colitis.
A relative with ulcerative colitis increases your risk by 30%! #HealthStatus
Ulcerative colitis is an immune deficiency disease.
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