About Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the lower gastrointestinal tract. Ulcerative colitis is closely related to Crohn’s disease, however ulcerative colitis only affects the inner most lining of the colon, whereas Crohn’s disease can occur in the all of the layers that make up the wall of the bowel. While the exact cause of ulcerative colitis isn’t known, some doctors believe abnormalities of the immune system could play a role. However, doctors do not know whether these abnormalities are a cause or a result of the disease.
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis causes ulcers to form along the lining of the colon, which subsequently bleed and produce mucus. These ulcers cause symptoms including pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, lack of appetite, fever and fatigue. While ulcerative colitis is not caused by emotional distress or sensitivity to certain foods or food products, these factors may trigger symptoms in some people. The stress of living with ulcerative colitis may also contribute to a worsening of symptoms.
Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis
It’s important that you seek treatment for ulcerative colitis from a specially-trained gastroenterologist. While there is no cure for ulcerative colitis, symptoms are usually treated by medication or with surgery. The effectiveness of medication will vary patient-to-patient. Therefore, it’s best to discuss with your doctor the most effective route to take to ease your symptoms. Many times, a change in diet and lifestyle can help control your symptoms. Foods such as dairy and those with higher fiber content should be limited to avoid a flare up. Eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day and drinking more water can also help prevent symptoms.
Did You Know?
- Ulcerative colitis affects approximately 700,000 people in the U.S.
- It affects men and women equally.
- Symptoms often start in people between the ages of 15 to 30.
The Southeast Gastro team is here to help with your ulcerative colitis diagnosis and treatment. If you think you have ulcerative colitis, please call us today or click here to request an appointment.