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Ulcerative Colitis

Also called: Colitis, Distal colitis, Pancolitis, Ulcerative proctitis

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a disease that causes inflammation and sores, called ulcers, in the lining of the rectum and colon. It is one of a group of diseases called inflammatory bowel disease.

UC can happen at any age, but it usually starts between the ages of 15 and 30. It tends to run in families. The most common symptoms are pain in the abdomen and blood or pus in diarrhea. Other symptoms may include

  • Anemia
  • Severe tiredness
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Sores on the skin
  • Joint pain
  • Growth failure in children

About half of people with UC have mild symptoms.

Doctors use blood tests, stool tests, colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, and imaging tests to diagnose UC. Several types of drugs can help control it. Some people have long periods of remission, when they are free of symptoms. In severe cases, doctors must remove the colon.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

The following features are indicative of Ulcerative Colitis:
  • diarrhea often with blood or pus
  • abdominal pain
  • cramps
  • inflammation
  • rectal bleeding
  • urgency to defecate
  • inability to defecate despite urgency
  • weight loss
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • failure to grow
It is possible that Ulcerative Colitis shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Ulcerative Colitis

The following are the most common causes of Ulcerative Colitis:
  • immune system malfunction
  • family history

Risk Factors for Ulcerative Colitis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Ulcerative Colitis:
  • increasing age
  • Ashkenazi Jewish descent
  • family history
  • isotretinoin use

Prevention of Ulcerative Colitis

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Ulcerative Colitis. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • limit dairy products
  • try low-fat foods
  • limit fiber
  • avoid spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine

Occurrence of Ulcerative Colitis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Ulcerative Colitis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Ulcerative Colitis most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 20-35 years

Common Gender

Ulcerative Colitis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Ulcerative Colitis:
  • Blood tests: To check for anemia and other signs of infection
  • Stool sample test: To rule out ulcerative colitis and other disorders, such as infections caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites
  • Colonoscopy: To view entire colon
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy: To examine the sigmoid, the last portion of colon
  • X-ray: To rule out serious complications
  • CT scan: To reveal extent of colon inflammation

Doctor for Diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis:
  • Gastroenterologist

Complications of Ulcerative Colitis if untreated

Yes, Ulcerative Colitis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Ulcerative Colitis is left untreated:
  • severe bleeding
  • perforated colon
  • severe dehydration
  • liver disease
  • osteoporosis
  • inflammation of skin, joints and eyes, and sores in the lining of mouth
  • increased risk of colon cancer
  • toxic megacolon
  • increased risk of blood clots in veins and arteries

Procedures for Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis

The following procedures are used to treat Ulcerative Colitis:
  • Proctocolectomy: To eliminate ulcerative colitis

Self-care for Ulcerative Colitis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Ulcerative Colitis:
  • Limit dairy products: Helps eliminating the disease
  • Try low-fat foods: Helps eliminating the disease
  • Limit fiber: Helps prevent symptoms from worsening
  • Regular exercise: Helps relieving stress

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Ulcerative Colitis:
  • Intake herbal and nutritional supplements: Helps treating the disease
  • Use fish oil supplements: Helps treating the disease
  • Acupuncture: Helps stimulating the release of the body's natural painkillers
  • Use turmeric in foods: Helps by showing anti-inflammatory effect

Time for Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Ulcerative Colitis to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 6 months - 1 year

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Ulcerative Colitis.

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