Ulcerative Colitis | Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Originally posted on September 22, 2022 @ 7:56 pm

Normally, just the rectum and colon’s innermost linings are affected by ulcerative colitis. Mild to severe forms are seen. A patient with ulcerative colitis is more likely to get colon cancer.
Rectal bleeding, bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and cramps are among the symptoms

What is Ulcerative Colitis

An inflammatory bowel condition is ulcerative colitis (UC). It damages the lining of your large intestine by causing irritation, inflammation, and ulcers (also called “colonization”).

People typically have symptoms intermittently for the rest of their lives because there is no known cure. However, the correct medical care can help you maintain control over the illness.

Risk Factors and Causes of Ulcerative Colitis

Your immune system’s errors can lead to ulcerative colitis. It typically combats bodily intruders like the common cold. However, when you have UC, your immune system believes that food, healthy gut flora, and the colon’s lining cells are the intruders. The white blood cells that normally defend you instead assault the lining of your colon. They are the origin of ulcers and inflammation.

Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative Colitis

The cause of the disease is unknown to doctors. The disease occasionally runs in families, so your genes may be involved. There may be additional factors at play in your environment.

The following factors can influence your chance of developing ulcerative colitis:

  • Age. It’s more likely if you’re older than 60 or between the ages of 15 and 30.
  • Ethnicity People of Ashkenazi origin are more at risk.
  • family history If you have a close relative with the illness, your risk may be up to 30% higher.

Stress and food do not cause it, although they might cause symptoms to worsen.

Different  Types of Ulcerative Colitis

Depending on where it is in your body, the type of ulcerative colitis you have can vary.

  • Ulcerative Proctitis Typically, the mildest kind of proctitis is ulcerative. Only in your rectum, the area of your colon closest to your anus, is it present. The condition may simply manifest as rectal bleeding.
  • Protosigmoiditis Your rectum and the bottom end of your colon can develop protosigmoiditis (you may hear the doctor call it the sigmoid colon). There will be agony, cramping, and bloody diarrhoea. Although you’ll feel the need to urinate, you won’t be able to. (Your physician might refer to this as tenesmus.)
  • left-sided colitis cramps The side of your stomach that has left-sided colitis cramps. You can lose weight unintentionally and experience bloody diarrhoea as well. From your rectum up through the left part of your colon, you will experience irritation.
  • pancolitis Your entire colon can experience pancolitis. It may result in significant weight loss, stomach pain, exhaustion, and episodes of severe, bloody diarrhoea.
  • ulcerative colitis Acute and severely debilitating ulcerative colitis is uncommon. It affects your whole colon and causes excruciating pain, heavy bleeding, a high fever, and a lot of diarrhea.

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis

Diarrhea that is bloody is the hallmark sign of ulcerative colitis. Your stools may also contain some pus.

Other issues consist of:

  • Tight abdominal discomfort
  • I had an urgent need to urinate.
  • No desire for food
  • losing weight
  • I’m worn out.
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • joint aches or stiffness.
  • Cutaneous sores
  • Looking at a bright light might cause eye pain.
  • Anemia is the lack of enough red blood cells.
  • Skin rashes
  • You may feel as if your colon hasn’t been fully emptied following a restroom visit.
  • Getting up at night to leave
  • Inability to keep your stool in place
  • Constipation-related discomfort or bleeding

Your symptoms may worsen, subside, and then reappear. It could be weeks or even years before you get any.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome vs Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease

Some of the symptoms of other gastrointestinal disorders can overlap.

  • Only your big intestine and its lining are impacted by ulcerative colitis.
  • Inflammation is brought on by Crohn’s disease, but it also affects other areas of your digestive tract.
Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative Colitis
  • While irritable bowel syndrome and UC have certain symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome doesn’t result in ulcers or inflammation. Your intestines’ muscles are the actual cause of the issue.

Diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis

Tests will be used by your doctor to determine whether you have UC or another digestive condition.

  • A blood test might reveal this if you have inflammation or anaemia.
  • Stool Sample: Your doctor can rule out a parasite or infection in your colon using stool samples. They can also reveal hidden blood in your stool that you are unable to notice.
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Your doctor can view the lower portion of your colon using a flexible sigmoidoscopy. A flexible tube will be inserted into your lower colon through your bottom. A tiny light and a camera are located at the end of the tube. The lining of your lower colon may also be sampled by your doctor using a little tool. This is referred to as a biopsy. A physician will examine the material under a microscope in a lab setting.
  • Colonoscopy The procedure for a colonoscopy is identical to that of a flexible sigmoidoscopy. However, your doctor will examine your entire colon, not just the lower portion.
  •  X-rays Although X-rays are less commonly used to diagnose illness, your doctor may insist on one in certain circumstances.

Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis

Two primary objectives drive UC treatment. The initial goal is to alleviate your symptoms and give your colon time to recover. The second goal is to stop further flare-ups. To achieve those goals, you could require a mix of dietary adjustments, medication, or surgery.

Diet. Certain meals may worsen your symptoms. You might discover that spicy or high-fiber foods irritate you more than soft, bland meals. If you are lactose intolerant and unable to digest lactose, your doctor may advise you to cease consuming dairy products. There should be adequate vitamins and nutrients in a balanced diet that includes lots of fiber, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables.

Medicine. A variety of medications, including the following, may be prescribed by your doctor:

  • Antibiotics These prevent infections while allowing your large intestine to heal.
  • Amino salicylates. These medications contain something called 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA), which helps to reduce inflammation and manage symptoms. You might be given pills to take or an enema or suppository to put under your tongue.
  • Corticosteroids If amino salicylates don’t help or if your symptoms are very bad, your doctor may give you these anti-inflammatory medicines for a short time.
  • Immunomodulators These aid in halting immune system assaults on your colon. They might not start working right away. It could take up to three months before you notice any changes.

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  • Biologics These are produced using proteins found in live cells as opposed to chemicals. They are intended for those who have severe ulcerative colitis.
  • Janus kinase inhibitors (JAK inhibitors) These oral medications have the ability to put ulcerative colitis into remission quickly.
  • Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulators This oral drug is for people who have UC that is moderately to highly active.
  • Loperamide. Diarrhea may lessen or stop as a result. Before using it, discuss it with your doctor.

Surgery. Colectomy or colon and rectum removal surgery may be necessary if other therapies are ineffective or if your UC is severe (proctocolectomy). In the event that you undergo a proctocolectomy, your physician might create a little pouch from your small intestine and join it to your anus. The term for this is ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA). You can avoid wearing a bag to collect faeces since it allows your body to discharge waste naturally.

Consequences of Ulcerative Colitis

Among ulcerative colitis’s potential side effects are:

  • Bleeding. This may result in anaemia.
  • Osteoporosis Your diet or a high corticosteroid dosage could cause your bones to weaken.
  • Dehydration If your large intestine is unable to absorb enough liquid, you may need intravenous (IV) fluids.
  • Inflammation Your joints, skin, or eyes could be impacted by this.
  • Colitis is in full bloom. A severe UC attack could cause your colon to rupture or the infection to spread throughout your body. Your belly grows as a result of your intestines ceasing to move waste.
  • Megacolon Your big intestine could expand or even rupture as a result of fulminant colitis. You’ll probably need surgery because this is a risky complication.
  • A liver condition. You can develop scar tissue in your liver, or your bile ducts or liver might swell up.
  • Stomach cancer If ulcerative colitis affects your whole large intestine or if you’ve had it for a long time, your risk of getting colon cancer goes up.

Ask Your Doctor About Ulcerative Colitis If:

Here are some inquiries to make of your doctor if you suspect that your symptoms could be related to UC or if you currently have it and want to learn more:

  • Are my symptoms indicative of ulcerative colitis (UC) or of something else entirely?
  • Does UC exist in a variety of forms? Do they present with distinct symptoms?
  • What tests should I require?
  • What kind of treatment will I receive if I have ulcerative colitis?
  • Will altering my diet or way of life help to reduce my symptoms?
  • My ulcerative colitis: how bad is it?
Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative Colitis
  • Will there be negative side effects if I take ulcerative colitis medication?
  • Is it advisable for me to consume probiotics as dietary supplements?
  • How frequently will I require checkups?
  • What should I do if my symptoms start to worsen overnight?
  • I have ulcerative colitis. How can I tell if it is getting worse?
  • How can I tell whether it’s time to switch my ulcerative colitis medication?
  • Do you recommend having surgery? What is involved in surgery?
  • What are my chances of developing colon cancer?

Ulcerative Colitis Prognosis

Ulcerative colitis is typically a chronic, or long-term, illness. There will be stretches when you experience nothing (your doctor will call this remission). A small percentage of people experience one assault and never experience another.

A small percentage of people with UC—roughly 10%—experience their initial attack and swiftly worsen, developing life-threatening consequences. In many cases, the illness progresses over time to the large intestine. But if doctors catch the disease early and take out the colon, nearly half of the people who get it will live.

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