Ulcerative Colitis

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Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease related to an inflammatory bowel disease. This inflammation triggers the appearance of a small boil-like bump that initially appears in the rectum, then spreads through the wall of the colon. If not treated promptly, the small bump can burst and cause bleeding.

Ulcerative colitis can affect anyone. However, most sufferers are men from the age range of 15 to 35 years. This condition can interfere with daily activities and even lead to life-threatening complications. It is recommended to seek immediate treatment to relieve symptoms.

Causes of Ulcerative Colitis

The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown. However, an immune system malfunction is thought to be one of the factors. When your immune system tries to fight off a virus or bacteria, an abnormal immune response triggers your immune system to attack healthy cells in the digestive tract.

Apart from immune system malfunction, several other factors are also thought to increase a person’s risk of developing ulcerative colitis, such as:

  • Genetic factors.
  • Age factor.
  • Environmental factor.
  • Lifestyle factors, such as poor diet and stress.
  • Other health problems, such as lupus.

When to See a Doctor for Ulcerative Colitis?

Immediately consult a gastroenterologist if you experience ulcerative colitis symptoms.

A gastroenterologist will examine your medical history and perform a physical examination. Ulcerative colitis may have similar symptoms to other digestive disorders (for example, Crohn’s disease). Thus, the specialist doctor may conduct some additional tests to to confirm the diagnosis. 

Additional tests may include: 

  • Blood tests, a test performed to detect signs of infection and anemia.
  • Stool test, a test performed to find out if your colitis is caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites.
  • X-rays, a test performed to check the abdominal area and detect possible perforation in the intestine.
  • CT scan, a test performed to obtain a detailed picture of the abdominal and pelvic area and determine the extent of inflammation in the intestine.
  • Colonoscopy, a test performed to check the condition of the inside of the large intestine.
  • Endoscopy, a test performed to check the condition inside of the stomach, esophagus and small intestine.
  • Biopsy, a test performed to check for the cause of intestinal inflammation through analysis of a sample of colon tissue.

Second Opinion

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease. The symptoms can appear and disappear over time. Consultation with a doctor is necessary to provide you with an accurate diagnosis as well as the right treatment. 

Use Smarter Health’s free services to get the following benefits:  

  • Recommendation for specialist doctor 
  • Check schedule & make doctor’s appointment
  • Calculate the estimated treatment costs

Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

The symptoms of ulcerative colitis vary from patient to patient – depending on the severity and location of inflammation in the intestine. Patients may experience mild to no symptoms at all. Some of the common symptoms of ulcerative colitis are:

  • Fever.
  • Nausea.
  • Pain in the abdomen and rectum.
  • Blood in stools
  • Malnutrition.
  • Drastic weight.
  • Diarrhoea
  • Painful and swollen joints 
  • Itchy skin and a rash
  • Swollen eyes

Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis

Treatment for ulcerative colitis aims to relieve inflammation that triggers symptoms. A method of treating colitis includes drug therapy. The type of medications given depends on the severity of the intestinal inflammation experienced. Medications to treat colitis include:

  • Mesalamine
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Balsalazide
  • Olsalazine

In addition, the doctor may also prescribe immunosuppressants to suppress the immune system and stop the production of antibodies that can trigger inflammation. The types of immunosuppressants may include:

  • Azathioprine
  • Cyclosporine
  • Infliximab
  • Vedolizumab

To manage other symptoms due to intestinal inflammation, your doctor may prescribe the following medications:

  • Antibiotics to prevent and control infections
  • Anti-diarrheal drugs to treat diarrhea. For example, loperamide
  • Pain relievers. For example, paracetamol. 
  • Iron supplements to prevent anemia or iron deficiency.

If medications are not effective in relieving the symptoms, the doctor may recommend surgery. Surgery is performed by removing the entire colon and rectum. This surgical procedure is called a proctocolectomy.

In this surgical procedure, the doctor will create a new digestive pathway by connecting the end of the small intestine to the anus – allowing you to expel waste relatively normally. If it is not possible, the doctor will create an opening in your abdomen so that you can pass stool directly into a small bag outside your body.

Treatment Cost for Ulcerative Colitis

The cost for Ulcerative Colitis treatment varies – depending on the treatment method and the medications prescribed by the doctor

Consult your doctor first to find out what type of treatment method is suitable for you.

For more information regarding the estimated costs of Ulcerative Colitis treatment, contact Smarter Health.

Prevention of Ulcerative Colitis

The most effective way to prevent intestinal inflammation is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and healthy diet. Preventative measures that can be undertaken include: 

  • Limit food intake that can trigger intestinal inflammation, such as spicy foods.
  • Avoid fatty foods.
  • Consume adequate fluids every day.
  • Limit consumption of dairy products.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Control stress with relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga.

Home Remedies for Patients Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis

Patients who undergo proctocolectomy surgery are also advised to undergo therapy. Your doctor will prescribe medications to prevent symptoms of recurring infection. This can be a lifelong therapy, depending on your overall health condition after treatment. 

Patients are also required to undergo regular medical check ups. This is for the doctor to monitor your progress during the recovery period. Living a healthy lifestyle and reducing stress can also speed up the recovery process.

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