Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation in the digestive tract of the human body.
This disease is a long-term disease that can affect the inner lining of your large intestine (colon).
It develops sores/ulcers in the rectum and then moves upwards to affect the whole colon.
This disease does not have any known cure. Medicines can only help to reduce symptoms and relieve the effects of the disease.
This disease can happen to anyone. However, the research says that people between age 15 to 35 are most likely to have it.
The cause of Ulcerative Colitis is unclear to the professionals. People used to believe that diet and stress plays a major role for this disease to happen.
But, according to doctors, these factors can only aggravate the disease, they cannot cause it.
Now, according to healthcare professionals, immune system, genetics, and environment may be responsible for this disease.
According to researches, the most common cause for Ulcerative Colitis can be a genetic disorder. You may inherit a gene from your parents that may cause this disease.
Your immune system can also be responsible for this disease. An immune disorder can put you risking being diagnosed of this disease.
In certain conditions, when the immune system fights with any bacterial or viral infection, it may cause inflammation that can cause Ulcerative Colitis.
The disorder can make the immune system keep on fighting a non-existing infection. This increases the inflammation in the colon.
A bad environment condition can also be responsible for causing this disease. Bacteria, antigens, and viruses can stimulate Ulcerative Colitis.
In fact, diet, air pollution and cigarette or smoke can also trigger this disease.
Symptoms may vary upon the nature of inflammation. The severe the inflammation is, the worse and obvious the symptoms become.
The most common symptom of the disease is diarrhoea. You may suffer from diarrhoea with puss or blood.
Some other symptoms may include:
- Rectal pain
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- A constant urge to defecate
- Rectal bleeding
Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease. Therefore, its diagnosis is similar to the other IBDs such as Crohn’s disease.
You might need to go through several medical tests for the diagnosis. Blood test are a common way of diagnosis. It is used to detect anaemia in the patient.
Some common medical tests that you will need to run are:
This test will help your doctor to detect bacteria, parasite, or blood in your stool which are a common indicator of the disease.
You will need to have CT Scan of abdomen and pelvis.
You will have to give a tissue of your colon which will be removed by a surgeon for further examination.
A long tube will be inserted in your rectum to examine the inside of it. The doctor will examine about the colon.
The doctor will use a flexible tool and insert it in your stomach esophagus and small intestine to examine it.
The treatment of Ulcerative Colitis depends upon the severity of the disease. However, no matter how mild the symptoms are, you should get it treated.
Without treatment, there are chances that the symptoms will go away. But the chances of their returning are equal.
Some people may need just medication while some may need to spend a good time in hospital.
The doctor will try to prevent further inflammation which causes symptoms. This is done to prevent flare-ups.
Mild symptoms can be treated with medicines. Your doctor might even put you on an Ulcerative Colitis diet.
It will ensure that you do not take anything which might trigger the symptoms.
For long-term treatments, you will be prescribed biologics, immunomodulator or small molecules.
These drugs help to alter the working of the immune system and treat the symptoms of the disease.
It can cure moderate or severe symptoms.
But, if you do not find relief from any other medication, you might need to go through surgery.
Some types of surgery suggested to the patients of Ulcerative Colitis are:
- Ileonal pouch
The bottom line
Though there is no specified cause of this disease, you can only try to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle for possible risks of this disease.