Overview | Effects | Types | Causes | Symptoms | Risks factors | Complications | Diagnosis | Treatment |
Are you also want to get rid of Ulcerative Colitis?
Read this articles to know all about it, including ulcerative colitis.
What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is a common long-term health condition that causes inflammation and ulcers in your digestive tract. It affects the innermost linings of your rectum and large intestine (also known as the colon). It is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is quite similar to Crohn’s disease. In ulcerative colitis, inflammation starts in the rectum and may spread to the colon. Its symptoms can be constant as well as in a pattern of come and go.
To understand ulcerative colitis better, you must know that what is rectum and colon. In a simple and short way:
Rectum – The last portion of large intestine is called rectum.
Colon – The large intestine is also known as colon. But it is divided into four types of colon, i.e.
- Transverse colon
- Ascending colon
- Descending colon
- Sigmoid colon
The inflammation usually begins in the rectum, which is close to the anus ( the last part of the intestine from where poops exit from your body).
The inflammation can either affect only a portion of the entire colon. Its name can be different on the basis of the spread of inflammation.
Ulcerative proctitis – When the inflammation occurs in the rectum and spreads to the lower part of the colon, it is called ulcerative proctitis.
Ulcerative pancolitis – If the entire colon gets affected, it is considered as ulcerative pancolitis.
Limited or distal colitis – It is called so, when only the left side of the colon is affected.
When it comes to the severity of ulcerative colitis, it depends on the amount of inflammation and its location. However, it can be possible that you may feel severe inflammation spread in a small area (such as the rectum) whereas mild inflammation is spread over a large area (such as the entire colon).
What is the difference between colitis and ulcerative colitis?
Colitis refers to a condition in which your colon gets inflamed and irritated, caused by infection from bacteria or viruses. Whereas, ulcerative colitis is way more severe than colitis, because it is not caused by any infection but is lifelong.
How ulcerative colitis occurs?
The colon removes nutrients from the undigested food and eliminates waste products through rectum and anus as feces.
When severe ulcerative colitis occurs, ulcers forms on the linings of the colon. These ulcers may bleed and can also produce pus and mucus.
Effects of ulcerative colitis:
Ulcerative colitis can have a negative psychological, physical, emotional, social and family effects or problems. Some of these are —
- Mood swings
- Worry about physical appearance
- Poor concentration
- Irritation due to improper functionality of the body etc.
Types (and area affected) of ulcerative colitis:
- Ulcerative proctitis – When only the last portion on the colon or rectum is affected, it is called ulcerative proctitis.
- Limited or distal colitis – It occur when one the left side of rectum, sigmoid and descending colon gets affected.
- Proctosigmoiditis – In this, the rectum and the sigmoid colon, which is the lower end of the colon is affected.
- Ulcerative pancolitis – In this, the entire colon gets affected.
- Fulminant colitis – In this also, the entire colon gets affected. But the difference is, this form is quite severe and life-threatening as well.
Causes of ulcerative colitis:
Researchers have said that it’s cause can have many factors and is complex. Still, some of the believed causes of ulcerative colitis are as follows —
- Overactive immune response
- Damage of tissues
- Air pollution
- Bacterial or viral infections
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis:
It’s symptoms depends on extent and spread of inflammation.
The most common symptoms are —
- Abdominal pain (with cramps sometimes)
- Bloody diarrhoea with mucus
Some other general symptoms are —
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Rectal pain
- Rectal bleeding
- A constant urge to pass stool
- Inability to defecate despite urgency
- Elevated temperature
- Growth problems in children
Later symptoms are developed like —
- Blood, mucus or pus in bowel movement
- Loss of fluids and nutrients
- Severe abdominal cramps
- Liver disease
- Painful red eyes
- Skin rashes
- Mouth sores
- Joint pain etc.
These symptoms vary depending on the affected part and are often worse early in the morning. The symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. It can be absent for months but will surely return of ulcerative colitis left untreated.
- Family history
- Are between 15-30 years old or older than 60
- Consumption of high-fat diet
- Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Severe bleeding
- Severe dehydration
- Osteoporosis (Bone weakness or loss)
- Rapidly increasing colon (toxic megacolon)
- Increased risk of colon cancer
- Increased risk of blood clots in arteries and veins
- Perforated colon (hole in the colon)
- Inflammation of skin, eyes and joints
- Liver disease etc.
For a proper diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, you have to approach a specialist gastroenterologist (specialist doctor in digestive system, for adults) or padiatric gastroenterologist (specialist for children); according to your need.
Your diagnosis will start with the questions regarding your symptoms you are experiencing, your medical and family history. Your doctor will also checks for tenderness around the abdomen. Then the gastroenterologist will prescribe you some tests to know the cause of your symptoms and ulcerative colitis. Some of the tests are as follows —
- Blood tests — If your blood level is low, it can indicate bleeding in your rectum or colon.
- Imaging tests — For a proper diagnosis, your doctor may need a picture of your colon and rectum. That’s why you may have some tests including MRI scan and CT scan.
- Endoscopic tests — It includes colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy. In this test, your doctor will check the health of the colon and rectum with the help of endoscope.
- Stool test – In this a sample of your stool is taken and tested to check any presence of infection, parasites and inflammation.
- Barium enema – To know about any anomalies or changes in the colon through scan, your doctor will conduct this test in which, he/she will pass a solution of barium through the colon.
There is no permanent cure for ulcerative colitis. But with the help of treatment, you can at least get rid of inflammation to an extent and live your life normally. The need for treatment varies from individual to individual and the severity of the symptoms. In some cases, it is treated with medications only. The goal of medications is to induce and maintain remission, which helps to improve the quality of life of people. Medications work to –
- Calm the inflammation of the colon
- Healing of the tissue by reducing the swelling and irritation
- Relief from diarrhoea and pain
Your providers may recommend some medications which may include —
- Aminosalicylates –
- Mesalamine etc.
- Corticosteroids –
- Immunomodulators —
- Biologics –
- JAK inhibitors –
If any of these medications don’t work for you, then you can go with surgery.
- Surgery to treat ulcerative colitis are of two types –
- Proctocolectomy and ileoanal pouch surgery
- Proctocolectomy and ileostomy surgery.