Ulcerative colitis is one of many inflammatory bowel disorders. Ulcerative colitis is different from other disorders because it does not only cause inflammation but it also leaves ulcers in the intestine. Ulcerative colitis has many different symptoms. Sometimes symptoms are so bad it leaves you debilitated. Some of the symptoms lead to other diseases. The symptoms do not occur all the time. Ulcerative colitis has times when it goes into remission. During remission, you don’t feel any symptoms at all. Certain things may trigger the disease and bring it out of remission. The known causes are few, and although there is no cure, treatment is available.
The colon is another name for the large intestines. Everyone has a small and large intestine. The small intestine connects to the stomach, and the large intestine runs from the small intestine to the rectum. The intestines are extremely long and allow the digested food to travel through the system until it is expelled through the anal cavity. There are about 25 feet of intestines in your system. When you have inflammatory issues in the intestine, you suffer from a lot of discomfort and pain. The issue with ulcerative colitis is the fact that you not only have inflammation, but it also leads to ulcers. These ulcers may lead to other serious health conditions.
Ulcerative colitis has been seen to have hereditary causes. When immediate family members are suffering from ulcerative colitis, you are more likely to have the condition as well. Sometimes bacteria and viruses also cause ulcerative colitis. Bacteria and viruses can attack the intestines leading to inflammation and the presence of ulcers. When the immune system kicks in, it may attack the good bacteria in the body. Age plays a role in the development of symptoms. Most of the time symptoms begin before the age of 30, but typically a diagnosis is not made until after the age of 60. Diet can trigger the symptoms and make them worse. Staying away from spicy food is especially important when you have ulcers. Drinking a lot of water is helpful as well. Fruits and vegetables clean out your system, so they are the best things to eat.
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis are dependent upon the severity of the disease. The severity of ulcerative colitis is dependent upon how much of the colon is affected. When inflammation occurs in only one segment of the colon, it is not considered severe. When inflammation spreads throughout the colon, it becomes pretty serious. It also makes the symptoms more severe. Symptoms include pain in the rectum and abdomen. You can have diarrhea, and you may also have an inability to use to use the bathroom even if you feel like you have to go. Fever and fatigue commonly occur in more severe cases. A lot of time bleeding occurs which subsequently leads to fatigue due to the loss of iron. Pus may also come out with the bleeding. Weight loss is another symptom. When dealing with ulcerative colitis, you may lose your appetite or have trouble with digestion.
A diagnosis must be made as soon as possible, or other health conditions may occur. Ulcerative colitis can lead to excessive bleeding and puts you at risk for colon cancer. Other complications include dehydration, liver disease, and osteoporosis. When you pay attention to your symptoms, you can get to the doctor and get diagnosed. The doctor will run a blood test and obtain a stool sample. Through those two test, the doctor can see if there is an infection and if you are bleeding. A colonoscopy is extremely helpful because it allows the doctor to see inside the colon. Most of the time this is enough because ulcerative colitis usually only affects the large intestine and rectum area. A doctor may want to see the whole intestine they may order a CT scan or X-ray.
Treatment of ulcerative colitis varies. Anti-inflammatory drugs can sometimes prevent or diminish the swelling in the intestines. These drugs may also be used with pain relievers. When an infection happens from the ulcers antibiotics are necessary. Sometimes immunosuppressants are used. They prevent the immune system from attacking the good bacteria in the intestine. Since bleeding can occur, iron supplements may be added to your treatment. They help restore the iron loss from the blood loss. When the symptoms of ulcerative colitis are not being treated with other methods, surgery is the next option. Sometimes a surgeon will remove the whole large intestine along with the rectum. They then connect the small intestine to the anus.
Ulcerative colitis can totally damage your large intestine. It may start off as an irritation in the bowel and end up creating ulcers throughout the colon. Any sign of ulcerative colitis should make you book an appointment with a physician. Starting treatment early can lower the risk of intestinal damage. It may also allow the disease to go into remission. Understanding the nature of ulcerative colitis will help you get a handle on the disease before it gets out of control.
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