How is Ulcerative Colitis Different from other forms of Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. There are many different forms of colitis, ranging from infectious colitis which is caused by a bacterial or viral infection which can be treated with antibiotics, to the more serious ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis causes ulcers and inflammation in your digestive tract, specifically the large intestine. Ulcerative colitis takes some time to develop, and lasts for extended periods of time. If left untreated, ulcerative colitis can lead to life threatening complications that will require hospitalization and intensive care. While there is no cure for Ulcerative colitis, there are treatments that can help you manage the symptoms and keep them from getting worse. With proper management you can even get your ulcerative colitis symptoms in remission.

Doctor and Patient

Common Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis:

The most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include abdominal pain, cramping, rectal pain, diarrhea, and blood or pus in the stool. If any of these symptoms are observed you should contact your doctor or primary care physician immediately. Other symptoms include weight loss, fever, and fatigue, which may not indicate ulcerative colitis but should be discussed with a doctor as well. A typical case of ulcerative colitis will have mild symptoms, however symptoms may worsen or lessen depending on the case. Some cases have lengthy periods of remission, both with and without treatment.

What Causes Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis, like other forms of colitis is not entirely understood. The exact causes of ulcerative colitis are unknown. What is known is that factors like diet and stress can cause symptoms to worsen and aggravate ulcerative colitis, but are not the root cause. Some doctors speculate that ulcerative colitis is caused by a malfunction of the immune system, causing the body’s natural defenses to attack the cells of the digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis may have a genetic component and could possibly be passed from generation to generation. It is important to speak with your doctor about possible causes of ulcerative colitis and steps you can take to mitigate any risk factors you may have.

How Do You Know You Have Ulcerative Colitis?

To confirm a case of ulcerative colitis your doctor will need to diagnose you, ruling out other gastrointestinal disorders or infections. The typical method of diagnosing for colitis, and ulcerative colitis in particular, is a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy exam allows the doctor to view the entirety of your colon with a camera, as well as allowing for biopsies of tissues within the colon. For serious cases you may need additional X-rays or CT scans to check for any complications that may arise from severe cases of ulcerative colitis.

Treatment Options:

Ulcerative colitis has no cure. There is no procedure or medication that a doctor can prescribe that will guarantee that your ulcerative will not return. Ulcerative colitis can go into remission, and most treatments are aimed at lessening the symptoms and allowing you to return to a normal daily routine without having to worry about ulcerative colitis symptoms. Your doctor may recommend a series of medications to help manage ulcerative colitis symptoms. Depending on your physical condition and the severity of your case of ulcerative colitis your doctor may recommend medications like 5-aminosalicylic acid or corticosteroids. For more severe cases other medications may be recommended, however some other medications may come with complications of their own, such as suppressing one’s immune system. As always, discuss all medications with your doctor, as a trained physician will know what medication is best for you and your needs.