What Are the Basics of Ulcerative Colitis?

What is the definition of ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease. It affects your large intestine, or colon. Inflammation can lead to sores, or ulcers on the innermost lining of your colon and rectum.

Usually, symptoms develop gradually, rather than suddenly.

Although there is no known cure yet, proper treatments can help reduce signs and symptoms. Remission that lasts for a long period is possible.

It can make you weak and may trigger complications that are life-threatening. So as long as you find certain signs and symptoms, you should go to see a doctor immediately.


What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?

One of the main symptoms ulcerative colitis is diarrhea, and it is often with blood or pus.

Other signs and symptoms also include:

  • Pain and cramp in the belly
  • Urgency to empty your belly
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Fever


What are the causes of ulcerative colitis?

Up to now, doctors haven’t found the exact cause of ulcerative colitis yet.

One possible factor is the malfunction of your immune system. The immune system wants to fight off virus and bacteria, but it also attacks good bacteria and cells in your guts because it mistakes them as intruders. White blood cells start attacking the lining of your colon. This may lead to inflammation and sores.

Genes may play a role, but most people with the disease have no family history. Besides, diets and stress do not cause ulcerative colitis as well, although they may worsen your symptoms.


What are the treatments for ulcerative colitis?

Treatments for the disease often involve medications and surgery.

Since the conditions vary from person to person, it may take some time for you to find the most suitable drug.

Medication treatments include:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
    These tend to be the first option when treating ulcerative colitis. They include 5-aminosalicylates and corticosteroids.
  • Immune system suppressors
    These drugs reduce inflammation by suppress the response of your immune system.
  • Other medications
    Some drugs are used to treat specific symptoms, such as medications that stop diarrhea and pain relievers.

Surgery can help alleviate the symptoms, but it often means removing your colon and rectum.

What drugs can treat ulcerative colitis?

There are different types of drugs that are effective to treatment. What you take is determined by your condition.

Anti-inflammatory drugs tend to be the first treatment option. Firstly, your doctor may prescribe aminosalicylates. If it doesn’t work well, you may need to take another type of drugs called corticosteroid.

Immune system suppressors can also reduce inflammation. They help stop the attack from your immune system to your large intestine.

Other medications can treat specific symptoms as well, including:

  • Drugs that fight diarrhea
    These drugs may raise your risk of having enlarged colon. You must talk to a doctor first before taking it.
  • Antibiotics
    These can help control and prevent infection caused by ulcerative colitis.
  • Pain relievers
    Some pain killers can worsen your condition, so you must follow your doctor’s guidance. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is recommended more.
  • Iron supplements
    If the bleeding is chronic, you may need iron supplements to prevent anemia caused by iron deficiency.

Always remember to consult a doctor first before you start to take any medication.


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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.