What is Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is one of many inflammatory bowel diseases. Ulcerative colitis is similar to Crohn’s in some ways, both are autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the intestine. Colitis is an inflammation of the inner lining of the intestine. Crohn’s begins in the small intestines and works its way down. Ulcerative colitis begins in the lower intestine and works its way up.
Ulcerative Colitis inflammation causes excruciating pain in the colon and rectum. A flare-up occurs when painful ulcerative sores erupt in the intestine. Flare-ups are random, and there is currently no known cure for the disease.
The symptoms of the disease can be treated and the greatest aim of treatment is to keep colitis in remission. There are correlations between colitis and certain behaviors and foods, but at this point nothing points clearly to a cause.
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis may vary from person to person. However, the following symptoms are among the most common:
Frequent loose bowl movements with blood or pus in stool
Feeling of urgency to have a bowel movement
Feeling of incomplete bowel movement
Rectal pain that comes and goes
A doctor should be seen, if suspect you may have ulcerative colitis or any other Irritable Bowel Disease.
Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis
As mentioned before, there is no known cure for ulcerative colitis. The ultimate solution is to have the inflamed portion of the bowel removed. While this is a very unpleasant experience, patients should understand that colostomies (bypassing or replacing the colon via tubes and bags) are nothing like they used to be.
If an external colostomy is performed, the odor is minimal. Care and changing of the colostomy bag has also become much easier. Colostomy bags used to be like catheter bags, except they were filled with feces. These devices were embarrassing and cumbersome. Today, patients may have an external colonoscopy of which others are never aware. The bags are smaller, and the connection to the healthy colon is direct.
Sometimes, when the colon is removed, the first good section of colon is re-attached to the rectum. . It is not uncommon for individuals with very active colitis to have several surgeries if their colitis remains active.
The best way to combat colitis is to try to keep it in remission. This involves eating correctly, getting plenty of rest, and taking any medications as prescribed. Stress is a crucial factor in the onset of active colitis and Crohn’s.
If there are any unexplained changes in your bowel habits, contact your doctor. It is difficult to see a doctor regarding digestive and elimination issues, but it is important not to let fear or embarrassment stop you from seeking treatment.
Asacol: Understand Ulcerative Colitis; An Overview of Ulcerative Colitis
Medline Plus: Ulcerative Colitis
“Ulcerative Colitis: Understanding the Chronic Disease.” Northside Hospital Brochure. 2007