Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in your digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis affects the innermost lining of your large intestine and rectum. In most cases, symptoms develop over time, rather than suddenly. The combination of inflammation and ulceration can cause abdominal discomfort and frequent emptying of the colon.
Ulcerative colitis can be debilitating and sometimes can lead to life-threatening complications. Although it has no known cure, treatment can greatly reduce signs and symptoms of the disease and even bring about long-term remission of the disease.
What are the Symptoms of Ulcerative colitis?
Most people with ulcerative colitis have mild to moderate symptoms. The symptoms can vary, depending on the severity of inflammation and where it occurs. Depending on the severity and location, patients may experience the following symptoms:
- Diarrhea, often with blood or pus
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Rectal pain
- Rectal bleeding - passing small amount of blood with stool
- Urgency to defecate
- Inability to defecate despite urgency
- Weight loss
- In children, failure to grow
How is Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosed?
Your doctor will make a diagnosis based on your medical history, a physical examination, and a series of tests. To help confirm a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, you may have one or more of the following tests and procedures:
- Blood tests
- Stool sample
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- CT scan
How is Ulcerative Colitis Treated?
The primary goal in treating ulcerative colitis is to help patients regulate their immune system better. While there is no known cure for ulcerative colitis, a combination of treatment options can help you stay in control of your disease.
Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis is multifaceted and may include:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Immune system suppressors
- Other medications (Anti-diarrheal medications, pain relievers)
- Diet and nutrition management
- Removal of the colon (colectomy)