Ulcerative Colitis Treatment
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic illness characterized by inflammation in the large intestine (colon) and rectum. If you have ulcerative colitis or may have symptoms suggestive of ulcerative colitis, make an appointment today at Northwest Gastroenterology Clinic. Call (503) 229-7137 or contact us online today!
Ulcerative Colitis Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms related to ulcerative colitis are typically gradual and progressive. They may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Urgent need to defecate
- Nocturnal bowel movements
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Joint pain
- Eye irritation
Ulcerative Colitis: Cause and Risk Factors
The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is currently unknown, but it is acknowledged as an autoimmune condition.
Risk factors have been identified in the development of ulcerative colitis. The most important risk factors include family history or genetics and smoking. A stereotypical “Western” diet, obesity, infections, antibiotic use, and NSAIDs have been examined in numerous studies as risk factors for ulcerative colitis, but the data remains variable.
Diagnosis of ulcerative colitis typically depends on a colonoscopy and biopsy. However, physicians also rely on the following to aid in the evaluation of a patient’s symptoms:
- Medical and family history
- Physical examination
- Blood tests and stool studies
- CT scan, X-ray, or other scans
Ulcerative Colitis Treatment Options
Once a patient is diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, the physician will need to assess the patient’s condition as either mild, moderate, or severe. The degree of inflammation related to UC will guide appropriate treatment options. Treatment ranges from oral anti-inflammatory medications to immunosuppressive therapies delivered by injection or infusion. Since ulcerative colitis has no cure, the goals of treatment include clinical remission (helping to restore quality of life) and mucosal healing (keeping the inflammation under control).
With all diseases, trying to maintain a healthy diet is helpful for healing, but should be pursued in conjunction with medications indicated for the treatment of ulcerative colitis.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) characterized by inflammation and sores in the inner lining of the large intestine, also called the colon. UC is chronic, which means it is persistent and long-lasting.
Can Ulcerative Colitis Be Cured?
Ulcerative colitis management is ordinarily the goal of treatment as opposed to a cure. This is because the only guaranteed cure is surgery, which may not be right for some patients. Remission is possible with medication, but there may still be a risk of flares.
Is Ulcerative Colitis Hereditary?
Yes, there is a hereditary component to ulcerative colitis. People with a family history of UC are more likely to develop it.
Is Ulcerative Colitis an Autoimmune Disorder?
Yes, ulcerative colitis is autoimmune. This means that the patient’s immune system is attacking the body. In the case of UC, the rectum and colon are damaged by immune cells called T-cells.
How Common Is Ulcerative Colitis?
A 2017 study done by the medical journal American Family Physician found that ulcerative colitis was found to affect between 250,000 and 500,000 people in the United States. New diagnoses of UC are made at a rate of between 2 and 7 per 100,000 persons.