Understanding Ulcerative Colitis

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is called ulcerative colitis (UC). Your large intestine’s lining is irritated, inflamed, and vulnerable to ulcers (also called your colon).

People typically have symptoms intermittently for the rest of their lives because there is no treatment. But the correct medical care can assist you in managing the illness.

The causes and risk factors for ulcerative colitis
Your immune system makes a mistake, which results in ulcerative colitis. Typically, it fights against invading organisms like the common cold. However, when you have UC, your immune system believes that the cells that line your colon, beneficial gut flora, and food are the intruders. Instead of protecting you, your white blood cells assault the lining of your colon. They bring on ulcers and inflammation.

Physicians are unsure of why people get the illness. The disease can run in families sometimes. Therefore your genes may be involved. You never know what else is going on in the world around you.

Your chance of developing ulcerative colitis may be affected by things like:

Age. If you’re older than 60 or between the ages of 15 and 30, it’s most likely.
Ethnicity. People of Ashkenazi Jewish origin are more at risk.
Family background. If you have a close family with the illness, your risk might increase by up to 30%.
Although they don’t cause it, stress and food might cause symptoms to worsen.

Ulcerative Colitis Subtypes
Your body’s location and the type of ulcerative colitis you have are related:

The mildest kind of proctitis is often ulcerative. Only the rectum, the region of your colon closest to your anus, has it. The only indication of the illness may be rectal bleeding.
Your colon’s lower end and rectum might develop proctosigmoiditis (you may hear the doctor call it the sigmoid colon). You’ll have agony, cramping, and bloody diarrhea. The want to urinate will be strong, but you won’t be able to. Your doctor could refer to this as tenesmus.
Your stomach cramps on the left side if you have left-sided colitis. Additionally, you’ll get bloody diarrhea and could lose weight unintentionally. Proctitis will inflame the left side of your colon up through your rectum.
Your whole colon may become affected by pancolitis. It may result in severe episodes of bloody diarrhea, discomfort, exhaustion, and significant weight loss.
Rare cases of acute, severe ulcerative colitis exist. It causes fever, intense discomfort, excessive diarrhea, bleeding, and damage to your whole colon.
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis
Bloody diarrhea is the hallmark sign of ulcerative colitis. You can also have some pus in your stools.

Additional issues include:

  • Gnawing abdominal ache
  • sudden bowel movements and a lack of appetite
  • Loss of weight
  • Exhaustion Fever
  • Dehydration
  • joint discomfort or agony
  • Scaly sores
  • When you stare at a bright light, your eyes hurt.
  • Anemia, often known as low red blood cell count,
  • Skin ulcers
  • Feeling as though your intestines haven’t been fully emptied after using the restroom
  • Awakening at night to leave
  • Not in control of your bowels
  • Blood or discomfort with bowel movements

Your symptoms may worsen, disappear, then return. You could go weeks or years without having any.

Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis
Some of the symptoms of other gastrointestinal conditions are similar.

Only the lining of your large intestine is impacted by ulcerative colitis.
Crohn’s disease brings on inflammation, but it also impacts the digestive system elsewhere.
Even while irritable bowel syndrome doesn’t result in ulcers or inflammation, it has some of the same symptoms as UC. Instead, it’s an issue with the intestines’ muscles.


Diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis
Your doctor will utilize testing to determine whether you have UC or another gastrointestinal condition.

Blood testing can detect inflammation or anemia.
Using stool samples, your doctor can rule out a colon infection or parasite. Additionally, they can reveal whether there is hidden blood in your stool.
The bottom portion of your colon may be seen by your doctor thanks to a flexible sigmoidoscopy. They will insert a flexible catheter into your lower intestine through your bottom. On the end of the tube are a bit light and a camera. Additionally, your doctor can use a tiny instrument to remove a little portion of the lining from your lower intestine. It’s known as a biopsy. The sample will be examined under a microscope by a doctor in a lab.
Like flexible sigmoidoscopy, a colonoscopy involves looking at the whole colon rather than just the lower portion.
Although X-rays are less frequently used to diagnose the illness, your doctor could request one in certain circumstances.

Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis
Two key objectives underlie UC therapy. The first is to improve your mood and give your colon time to recover. The second goal is to stop further flare-ups. You might need to adjust your diet while taking medication or having surgery to achieve those goals.

Diet. Some meals may exacerbate your symptoms. You could discover that bland, soft food doesn’t affect you as much as spicy food or meals heavy in fiber. Your doctor might advise you to quit consuming dairy products if you are lactose intolerant—unable to digest the sugar found in milk. Your diet should include enough vitamins and minerals in a balanced diet that contains lots of fiber, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables.
Medicine. Some of the several medications that your doctor could recommend :

  • Antibiotics. These help your big intestine repair while fighting infections.
  • Amino-salicylates. These medications include 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA), which reduces inflammation and aids symptom management. You could receive oral medications, an enema, or a suppository to insert into your genitalia.
  • Corticosteroids. Your doctor may prescribe these anti-inflammatory medications for a brief period if aminosalicylates fail to relieve your symptoms or are severe.
  • Immunomodulators. These aid in halting the assault on your colon by your immune system. They may take some time to start working. For up to three months, you might not notice any changes.
  • Biologics. Instead of chemicals, they are produced from proteins found in living organisms, for those who suffer from severe ulcerative colitis.
  • Anti-Janus kinase agents (JAK inhibitors). These oral medications have a rapid onset of action and help keep ulcerative colitis in remission.
  • Modulators of the Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor. This is an oral medicine for people with moderately to highly active UC.
  • Loperamide. It can lessen or end diarrhea. Before using it, see your doctor.
  • Surgery. You may require surgery to remove your colon (colectomy) or colon and rectum if previous therapies are unsuccessful or your UC is severe (proctocolectomy). If you have a proctocolectomy, your doctor may create a little pouch out of your small intestine and link it to your anus. Ileal pouch-anal anastomosis is the medical term for this (IPAA). You don’t need to wear a bag to collect feces since it allows your body to eliminate waste regularly.

Complications of ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis complications might include:

Bleeding – Anemia may result from this.
Osteoporosis -Your diet or if you take a lot of corticosteroids might cause your bones to weaken.
Dehydration -If your large intestine cannot absorb enough fluid, you may need to receive it intravenously (IV).
Inflammation-This may impact your eyes, skin, or joints.
Chronic colitis Your colon might rupture, or the infection could spread throughout your body if your UC attack is severe. Your belly enlarges, and your intestines cease removing waste.
Megacolon-Your big intestine may expand or even explode due to fulminant colitis. This is a severe problem, and surgery is almost certainly required.
Liver illness – You can develop scar tissue in your liver or inflammation of the bile ducts or liver.
Bowel cancer Colon cancer risk is increased by ulcerative colitis, particularly if the entire large intestine is affected or if the condition has persisted for an extended period.


Ask Your Doctor These Questions About Ulcerative Colitis
Here are some queries to put to your doctor, whether you’re concerned that your symptoms may be UC or you already have the illness and want to learn more:

  • What ailment, if any, would be causing my symptoms, such as ulcerative colitis (UC)?
  • Are there several varieties of UC? Do they exhibit various symptoms?
  • Which exams will I require?
  • What will my course of therapy be if I have ulcerative colitis?
  • Will altering my diet or way of life help my symptoms go better?
  • Is my ulcerative colitis a dangerous condition?
  • Will there be adverse side effects if I take medicine for ulcerative colitis?
  • Do I need to take dietary supplements like probiotics?
  • How frequently must I visit for checkups?
  • What must I do if my symptoms progressively worsen?
  • How can I tell whether the ulcerative colitis in my body is worsening?
  • How can I determine whether I need to switch ulcerative colitis medications?
  • Do I need to have surgery? What happens during surgery?
  • How likely is it that I’ll develop colon cancer?

Prognosis of Ulcerative Colitis
Most persons with ulcerative colitis have had it for a long time. You’ll have flare-ups and times with no symptoms (your doctor will call this remission). A tiny percentage of people only experience one assault before being free of pain.

10% of persons who have UC occasionally experience their first attack, which gradually worsens and leads to significant consequences. Over time, the illness progresses in many patients to the large intestine. Even though it can develop into colon cancer if doctors remove the patient’s colon in time, roughly 50% of those who contract it survive.

References
3 Ways to Find Good Friends – wikiHow. https://www.wikihow.com/Find-Good-Friends
Do Colon Polyps Need to Be Removed? – MedicineNet. https://www.medicinenet.com/do_colon_polyps_need_to_be_removed/article.html

Leave a Reply