Ulcerative colitis is a disease that causes inflammation and sores, called ulcers, in the lining of the rectum and colon. The rectum is the end of the colon adjacent to the anus.Ulcerative colitis is similar to Crohn’s disease, another form of IBD.
More than 500,000 Americans have ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes chronic inflammation of the digestive tract.
The colon is the part of the digestive system where waste material is stored. The large bowel (colon) is the 5 to 6 foot segment of intestine that begins in the right-lower abdomen, extends upward and then across to the left side, and downward to the rectum. The illness may begin with a breakdown in the lining of the intestine.
Because of the name, IBD is often confused with irritable bowel syndrome (“IBS”), a troublesome, but much less serious condition. In addition, patients who have had extensive ulcerative colitis for many years are at an increased risk to develop large bowel cancer. Ulcerative colitis may also be called colitis, ileitis, or proctitis.
Research suggests that ulcerative colitis is genetic (inherited). If the entire colon is affected it is called pancolitis. If only the left side of the colon is affected it is called limited or distal colitis.
In patients with ulcerative colitis, ulcers and inflammation of the inner lining of the colon lead to symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea , and rectal bleeding. Although dietary modification may reduce the discomfort of a person with the disease, ulcerative colitis is not thought to be caused by dietary factors.
If the disease affects only the left side of the colon, it is called limited or distal colitis. If it involves the entire colon, it is termed pancolitis. The disease is not contagious, even within families, so contact with another person cannot spread the disease.
There’s no known medical cure for ulcerative colitis, but therapies are available that may dramatically reduce the signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis and even bring about a long-term remission.
Causes of Ulcerative Colitis
The common causes of Ulcerative Colitis include the following :
- Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are caused by abnormal activation of the immune system in the intestines.
- The development of ulcerative colitis appears to be influenced by two factors: genetic susceptibility and environmental triggers.
- Risk factors include a family history of ulcerative colitis or Jewish ancestry.
- Infectious colitis: A variety of “bugs” may cause colitis. They have developed a variety of ways to overcome our natural defenses and ultimately cause colitis.
- Radiation-associated colitis: Localized areas of colitis may occur at variable periods after treatment of the pelvic region with radiotherapy.
- Oral contraceptive pill: Birth control pills have been implicated as a possible cause of Crohn disease.
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis
Some sign and symptoms related to Ulcerative Colitis are as follows :
- The first symptom of ulcerative colitis is a progressive loosening of the stool..
- Joint pain.
- Growth failure (specifically in children).
- Rectal bleeding.
- Loss of body fluids and nutrients.
- Weight loss.
- Loss of appetite.
- Loss of body fluids and nutrients.
- Mild lower abdominal cramps.
- Blood in stool.
- A feeling that you have little warning before you need to have a bowel movement
- The need to wake from sleep to have bowel movements.
Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis
Here is list of the methods for treating Ulcerative Colitis :
- Treating complications, such as anemia or infection. Treatment may include taking nutritional supplements to restore normal growth and development in children and teens.
- Relieving symptoms and ending sudden (acute) attacks as quickly as possible.
- If the disease cannot be controlled by medical treatment, it can be cured by surgical removal of the large intestine.
- Laxatives and antidiarrhoeals
- Nutritional support
- The medicines that commonly are tried first are a group of anti-inflammatory medicines called aminosalicylates.
- Immunosuppressants, such as azathioprine (eg Imuran) are used for very severe symptoms that cannot be controlled by corticosteroids (unlicensed indication).