What is Ulcerative colitis?
The digestive tract becomes inflamed and painful from ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. The rectum and inner lining of your large intestine, generally known as the colon, are both impacted by ulcerative colitis. In the majority of persons, symptoms typically appear gradually rather than abruptly. The complications of ulcerative colitis can most times be fatal. Although there is no known cure, there are a number of innovative treatments that can significantly lessen the disease’s signs and symptoms and result in a long-lasting remission.
Types of Ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis is often classified according to the part it affected.
Types of ulcerative colitis are:
Ulcerative proctitis: Here, it is the part of the body nearest to the anus, commonly known as the rectum, that is inflamed. The one sign of the illness may be rectal bleeding.
Proctosigmoiditis: The rectum, sigmoid colon, and the lower end of the colon, are all inflamed. Bloody diarrhea, painful abdominal cramps, and an inability to urinate despite strong urges are other symptoms.
Left-sided colitis: The rectum, the sigmoid and descending parts of the colon are the parts that are inflamed. Bloody diarrhea, left side abdominal pain and cramps, and a strong urge to urinate are all symptoms of it.
Pancolitis: Pancolitis affects the entire colon and can result in severe bloody diarrhea as well as stomach pain, loss of strength, and significant weight loss.
It is still not very clear what exactly causes ulcerative colitis. Prior to now, stress and diet were suspected. Researchers now understand that while these factors may aggravate ulcerative colitis, they do not actually cause it.
Immune system dysfunction is one potential factor. An abnormal immune response causes the immune system to assault the cells in the digestive tract when it attempts to combat an invading virus or bacteria.
Also, it appears that hereditary factors contribute to the higher prevalence of ulcerative colitis in families with affected individuals. Yet, this family history is uncommon among those who develop ulcerative colitis.
Depending on the extent of the inflammation and the part of the body affected, the symptoms of ulcerative colitis can change.
Some warning signs and symptoms include:
- Diarrhea, often with blood or pus
- Rectal bleeding — excreting bloody stool.
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Rectal pain
- Urgency to defecate
- Constipation despite urgency to excrete.
- Weight loss
- Results in failure to grow in children
Risk factors may include:
- Race or ethnicity
- Family history
When to see a doctor
See your doctor immediately if you notice a constant change in your bowel habits or if you experience signs and symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Stool with blood
- Persistent diarrhea that is unresponsive to over-the-counter remedies
- You wake up from sleep due to diarrhea
- A prolonged, undiagnosed fever of more than a day or two.
Although ulcerative colitis seldom results in death, it remains a dangerous condition. Ulcerative colitis can occasionally result in potentially fatal consequences.
Some common complications of ulcerative colitis includes:
- Severe bleeding
- Extreme dehydration
- A toxic megacolon, often known as a colon that is quickly expanding
- A perforated colon is another name for a hole in the colon.
- A higher risk of blood clots in the arteries and veins
- Irritation of the eyes, joints, and skin
- A higher chance of colon cancer
- Osteoporosis, another name for bone loss.
Diagnosis of ulcerative colitis
Your healthcare professional must rule out other conditions before making the ulcerative colitis diagnosis in children, teenagers, and adults.
Following a medical assessment, they might request:
Blood specimen: A blood test Infection or anemia might be detected in your blood. Low blood levels are known as anemia. It can be a that your colon or rectum is bleeding.
Stool specimens: Your feces may contain indicators of an infection, parasites (miniscule creatures that can live within a person), and inflammation (feces).
Imaging tests: Your doctor might want to see images of your colon and rectum. You might carry out computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
Endoscopic tests: A tiny camera is attached to a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope. Skilled medical professionals can implant the endoscope into your anus to examine your colon and rectum. The sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy are two common endoscopic procedures.
Who diagnoses ulcerative colitis?
If you exhibit ulcerative colitis symptoms, your regular doctor will likely recommend consulting a specialist. Adult patients should be under the care of a gastroenterologist, a medical professional with expertise in the digestive system. A pediatric gastroenterologist who focuses on children should oversee the care for younger patients.
Both the onset of ulcerative colitis and its treatment cannot be attributed to nutrition. Yet, the foods you or your child eat might contribute to symptom management and extending the intervals between flare-ups. Particularly during flare-ups, certain foods should be avoided as they may exacerbate symptoms. The cause of ulcerative colitis can differ, and some people experience protracted remission periods.