Ulcerative Colitis(UC) is a disease that affects large intestine. UC causes swelling and irritation called Inflammation. Eventually, that leads to sores (ulcers) on the inner lining of the large intestine.
Ulcerative colitis is a type of Inflammatory bowel disease, but it is totally different from other diseases with similar signs and symptoms, like Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome.
Ulcerative colitis begins gradually and can become worse over time. Symptoms can be mild to debilitating and sometimes leads to life-threatening complications. As it has no cure, treatment helps in reducing signs and symptoms and even bring about long-term remission.
Types - Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is classified according to its location.
Different types include:
- Ulcerative proctitis: Inflammation is confined to the area nearest to the anus(rectum), and rectal draining might be the main indication of the disease. This type of ulcerative colitis tends to be mildest.
- Proctosigmoiditis: Inflammation includes the rectum and sigmoid colon. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps and pain, and an inability of bowel movement.
- Left-sided colitis: Inflammation extends from the rectum up through the sigmoid and plunging colon. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and pain on the left side and unintended weight reduction.
- Pancolitis: Pancolitis frequently affects the entire colon and causes severe bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps and pain, fatigue and significant weight loss.
- Acute severe ulcerative colitis: This rare type of colitis affects the entire colon and causes severe pain, abundant looseness of the bowels, bleeding, fever, and inability to eat.
The exact cause is unknown. The following factors may play a major role in causing ulcerative colitis.
- Overactive Intestinal immune system: One cause of ulcerative colitis may be an abnormal immune reaction in the intestine. Generally, the immune system protects the body from infection by identifying and destroying bacteria, viruses and other harmful outside substances. Specialists believe that bacteria or viruses can mistakenly trigger the immune system to attack the inner lining of the large intestine. The response causes the inflammation.leading to symptoms.
- Genes: Ulcerative colitis (UC) sometimes runs in families Researches have shown that certain abnormal changes may appear in people with ulcerative colitis.
- Environment: Certain things in the environment may increase the chance of a person getting ulcerative colitis. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and oral contraceptives may slightly increase the chance of developing the disease.
Researchers believe that stress may increase a person’s chance of having a flare-up of ulcerative colitis. Also, certain foods like high-fat diet can trigger or worsen the disease.
Ulcerative colitis symptoms vary depending on the severity of the inflammation and where it occurs in the intestine. When the symptoms first appear,
- Most of the people with ulcerative colitis have mild to moderate symptoms.
- Only 5-10 percent of people have severe symptoms such as frequent bloody bowel movements, severe abdominal cramping, and fever.
Other symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:
- Feel of urgency to defecate
- Rectal bleeding
- Loss of appetite or Nausea
- Weight loss
Less common symptoms include:
- Joint pains
- Eyes irritation
Ulcerative colitis affects both men and women. Some risk factors may include:
- Age: Ulcerative colitis begins before the age of 30.
- Ethnicity: There is a higher rate of risk among whites than non-whites, and Jewish people are also at greater risk.
- Family history: You are at higher risk if you have a parent or sibling with ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative colitis increases the risk of colon cancer. The longer you have the disease, the higher your risk of colon cancer. Regular screenings can detect precancerous cells early.
Other possible complications of Ulcerative colitis include:
- Severe bleeding
- A hole in the colon.
- Severe dehydration
- Liver disease (rare)
- Bone loss (Osteoporosis)
- Toxic megacolon (Swelling colon)
- Risk of blood clots in veins and arteries
Different tests help your doctor to diagnose ulcerative colitis after ruling out the other possible symptoms. You may have one or more of the following tests and procedures to confirm the diagnosis.
- Blood tests: Your specialist may suggest blood tests to check for anemia (low red blood cell count) and to check any signs of infection in the body.
- Stool sample: Stool specimens are collected to examine the bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
- Colonoscopy: This diagnostic test allows the doctor to view your entire colon using a long, flexible, lighted tube with an attached camera.
- Biopsy: The surgeon takes small samples of tissue from your colon for analysis.
- CT Scan: A specialized X-ray of your abdomen and pelvis.
Ulcerative colitis treatment mainly depends on the severity of the condition. The treatment includes medication therapy or surgery.
The main aim of the treatment is to reduce the symptoms and maintain remission.
People with ulcerative colitis require medication therapy indefinitely. So the doctors may prescribe the medications that are best to treat with the symptoms which include Aminosalicylates, Corticosteroids, Immunosuppressants and other Biologic Medications.
Surgery often eliminates ulcerative colitis. But that surgery usually means permanently removing the entire colon and rectum (proctocolectomy).
During the surgery, the small intestine will be used to pass waste products out of your body instead of a colon. This can be done by creating:
- An ileostomy: A procedure where a small intestine is diverted out of a hole made in your abdomen. Special bags are placed over this opening, to collect the wastes.
- An ileoanal pouch: A procedure where part of the small intestine is used to create an internal pouch that is then attached to your anus, which allows you to pass stools normally. Ileoanal pouches are being used more because an external bag to collect wastes is not required.
As the colon is permanently removed, ulcerative colitis can’t recur after surgery. However, it is always important to consider the risks of surgery and the impact of having an ileostomy or ileoanal pouch.At SIICP, we #SayNoToSurgery.
Not every case of Ulceratice Colitics requires surgery. At SIICP, we take immense care and number of steps to analyse each and every patient about their condition, their medical history and the complexity of the diseases to treat them without surgery.
But if needed, our experts are highly skilled to perform all kinds of Colo-proctology related operations.
Researches have not found that eating, diet, and nutrition play a major role in causing ulcerative colitis. However, good nutrition is always important in the management of ulcerative colitis, The changes in your diet may reduce the symptoms.The doctor may recommend dietary changed such as:
- Avoid carbonated drinks
- Drink plenty of liquids
- Eat smaller meals more often
- Avoid high fiber foods.