What is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes ulcers and long-lasting inflammation in your digestive tract. The inflammation causes tiny ulcers in your colon. It starts in your rectum and slowly spreads upwards. Unlike other illnesses, the symptoms of Ulcerative colitis take time to develop, rather than suddenly. Some of the commonly seen symptoms include bloody diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramps, and pain. Unfortunately, having Ulcerative colitis increases your risk of developing colon cancer. Although Ulcerative colitis is not always fatal, it may result in life-threatening complications if left untreated.
Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms
In most cases, ulcerative colitis symptoms vary from person to person. In fact, the symptoms can also change over time. People diagnosed with ulcerative colitis may initially experience mild or no symptoms, but they may return at a later stage and may even be severe. The commonly seen symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:
- Increased abdominal sounds
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody stools
- Weight loss
- Rectal pain
- Joint pain
- Decreased appetite
- Joint swelling
- Mouth sores
- Skin problems
- Eye inflammation
- Not being able to control your stool
- Skin sores
In case you notice that your symptoms have disappeared overnight, be on the lookout for a flare-up. This involves a return of the symptoms, often at a more severe pace. It is essential to meet a doctor to get started on an ulcerative colitis cure as soon as possible.
Who is at Risk?
According to medical researchers, ulcerative colitis may be due to an overactive immune system. However, it is not clear why the immune systems of some people respond by attacking the large intestines. The ulcerative colitis risk factors that play a role in who develops the illness are:
- Genes: If you have inherited the gene from a parent, you increase your risk of developing ulcerative colitis.
- Immune Disorders: People who already have an immune disorder are at a higher risk of developing another immune disorder like ulcerative colitis.
- Environmental factors: Other factors like viruses, bacteria, and antigens may also trigger your immune system and increase your risk of developing ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative Colitis Causes
One of the main causes of ulcerative colitis is a defective immune system. Inflammation happens when your body’s immune system doesn’t work properly. The irritation and swelling, in turn, lead to ulcers and open sores in the lining. Your immune system is responsible for protecting your body from illnesses and infections. Unfortunately, when you develop an autoimmune disease like ulcerative colitis, it winds up attacking your own body. Although medical experts do not know the reasons for ulcerative colitis to occur, genes and environmental factors may trigger it.
How is Ulcerative Colitis diagnosed?
The doctor will ask you about your symptoms. This is followed by prescribing several different tests like:
- Stool Test: The test will examine your body for bacteria, blood, and parasites.
- Endoscopy: This test involves using a flexible tube to examine your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.
- Biopsy: The ulcerative colitis doctor will remove a sample from your colon to analyze it further.
- CT Scan: This involves taking a specialized X-ray of your pelvis and abdomen. Blood tests also come in handy to finalize an ulcerative colitis diagnosis
How is Ulcerative Colitis treated?
The Ulcerative colitis treatment the doctor chooses will depend on the type of ulcerative colitis you are suffering from. The goal of any treatment involves reducing the inflammation so that your symptoms will subside and flare-ups also stop eventually. The Gastroenterologist will prescribe medication to help with the inflammation and swelling. It will also help alleviate other symptoms caused by ulcerative colitis. The commonly prescribed medicine for ulcerative colitis includes antibiotics, corticosteroids, and medications that suppress immune function. In case the symptoms are severe, the doctor will hospitalize you to correct the loss of electrolytes and the effects of dehydration. You might even need to replace the blood that you may have lost. If you experience large blood loss, debilitating and chronic symptoms, surgery might be necessary. A colonoscopy or a CT scan helps the doctor establish whether you need surgery or not. This is why you need to book an online video consultation with the best doctor in the country with the help of Cure.fit.
How can Ulcerative Colitis be prevented?
Although there is no evidence that your diet helps with the prevention of ulcerative colitis, you can still avoid certain foods to prevent aggravating your colon. It is a good idea to practice eating smaller meals throughout the day, avoiding fatty foods, drinking water throughout the day, limiting fibre intake, and so on. After all, preventing ulcerative colitis is better than looking for a cure.