Important Facts About Ulcerative Colitis
Your body undergoes various changes over the years and sometimes these little changes can be the signal that a more serious illness id developing. This is exactly what happens with ulcerative colitis. This condition grows from bad to worse over time.
Although there is no cure for ulcerative colitis, there are treatment options available that can help patients live a longer, more enjoyable life.
The best thing you can do to manage this condition is start a treatment plan as soon as you are diagnosed. Although you won’t be getting rid of the disease, you could put it into long-term remission.
Early Warning Signs of Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease, and as the name suggests, it causes inflammation and ulcers inside of the digestive tract. Although the large intestine and rectum is its epicenter, ulcerative colitis can affect other parts of the body.
Ulcerative colitis expresses itself with different symptoms in different people. These symptoms vary depending on the level of inflammation occurring in your body. Sometimes these symptoms may seem small and insignificant but they could be early signs of ulcerative colitis.
The Mayo Clinic lists these as the common symptoms of ulcerative colitis:
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Rectal pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Requiring urgent trips to the restroom
- Inability to relieve yourself
- Unexplained weight loss
The first symptoms of ulcerative colitis are so small that they often go overlooked. If the disease goes into remission it can seem like nothing is wrong at all. This makes it especially important to pay attention to any minor changes that occur in your body to make sure you catch this disease early.
Diagnosing Ulcerative Colitis
Once you start to detect any symptoms that might be related to ulcerative colitis, the first thing you need to do is see your doctor. You might not think your symptoms are serious enough to see a doctor, but it’s recommended you see a doctor anyway just to be safe.
When you go to the doctor, you should discuss your symptoms thoroughly so that your doctor can evaluate if additional testing is required. If you are diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, then the doctor’s next step is figuring out exactly what form of the disease you have. The different types of ulcerative colitis include:
- Ulcerative proctitis causes inflammation in the rectum and is usually identified by rectal bleeding.
- Proctosigmoiditis causes inflammation in the rectum and colon and includes symptoms like bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and difficulty using the toilet.
- Left-sided colitis which begins at the rectum and spans up to the left side of the colon
- Pancolitis which is often identified by bloody diarrhea.
- Acute severe ulcerative colitis causes severe pain, loss of appetite and diarrhea.
Treatment Paths for Ulcerative Colitis
If you’ve been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and your physician has narrowed down the type fo colitis you’re suffering from, you should be ready to discuss its various treatment options.
Ulcerative colitis is incurable, but its severity can be alleviated in order to allow you to live a healthy life and to relieve severe pain.
The following are the most frequent treatment alternatives doctors recommend for ulcerative colitis, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation:
- Medication: Medications are usually prescribed to treat the symptoms of ulcerative colitis and neutralize inflammation.
- Diet and Nutrition: Getting the proper nutrients can help alleviate some symptoms, while also refueling your body.
- Combination Therapy: It is advisable to combat ulcerative colitis by combining different treatment options, like using medication and surgery or adjusting the diet and working with alternative therapies.
- Surgery: When other treatment options aren’t doing enough for you, surgery can help with ulcerative colitis. Two different options exist – removing the colon and rectum, with a stoma or an ileostomy created, or removal of just the colon.
The ultimate goal when getting treatment for ulcerative colitis is to improve your immune system and keep it under control in order to reduce inflammation and to manage the disease, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
With the right knowledge and treatment alternatives, as discussed here, you’ll be in a better position to face ulcerative colitis.