Table of Contents
It seems that more and more people suffer from IBD. The rising incidence of inflammatory bowel disease cannot be neglected. Medical researchers don’t know why, let alone how inflammatory bowel disease develops. They only thing that they are positive about is the fact that there is a global emergence. Many illnesses can be included in the IBD umbrella term. One noteworthy disease is ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis, not forgetting about Crohn’s disease, is the most prevalent type of IBD. It’s a chronic, lifelong condition that affects a person’s daily life.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an idiopathic disease that causes the inflammation of the rectum and colon cell lines. To be more precise, the inflammatory bowel disease affects the lining of the rectum and large intestine (colon).The swelling can lead to ulcers, which pus and mucus, and eventually disrupt the digestive process. The cause of the intestinal disorder is unknown. Researchers have several theories when it comes to appropriate causes, but they are not able to say for sure what causes the inflammation and sores. These are the possible causes of ulcerative colitis:
Doctors cannot affirm that ulcerative colitis is caused by genetics. But neither can they neglect the fact that genetics play an important role in the development of the illness. It has been discovered that there are inherited determinants shared by ulcerative colitis patients. The matter of the fact is that genetic determinants can make a person susceptible to developing UC. Recent examinations have discovered multiple genes in relation to ulcerative colitis. Scientists have not yet determined the way in which these genes act.
Another ulcerative colitis theory involves immune system dysfunction. When the immune system is weakened, inflammation results in the intestinal mucosa. The immune response is in connection with the mass of commensal bacteria. Simply put, the immune system overreacts to the bacteria in the digestive track, which is completely normal.
The role of environmental factors in UC is undeniable. Things like smoking and microorganisms trigger unwanted responses. Smoking, on the one hand, increases the severity of the malady, the chemicals within tobacco affecting being the ones responsible. Nonetheless, the relationship between smoking and ulcerative colitis is much more complex. Microorganisms, on the other hand, like bacteria and viruses, worsen UC symptoms.
Ulcerative colitis is a medical condition that includes many types, ranging from mild to acute. These are the types of ulcerative colitis:
Common ulcerative colitis symptoms include:
It is important not to neglect the fact that each type of UC has its own set of symptoms. The manifestations specific to the different types of ulcerative colitis are:
Although ulcerative colitis isn’t a fatal malady, it is recommended to seek medical attention immediately.
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease, as mentioned previously. IBD’s symptoms vary and imitate other illnesses. Therefore, it is not enough for a gastroenterologist to ask about symptoms and take the patient’s history. An accurate physical examination is conducted and multiple tests are ordered in order to diagnose ulcerative colitis.
During the course of the physical examination, the medical practitioner feels the abdomen, performs a digital rectal exam, assesses bowel sound, examine the eyes, skin, and inside the mouth, and, last but not least, perform a pelvic examination (for women). As a rule, ulcerative colitis exhibits intestinal and extra intestinal findings on the physical examination.
A physical examination offers the medical practitioner the chance to procure baseline information about the patient, but the clinical presentation needs to be followed by laboratory tests. The investigations that are necessary for the diagnosis of the affliction are:
Biopsies are sometimes done in order to retrieve a small portion of the bowel and examine its microscopic features. Biopsies are uncomfortable, although anesthesia is administered. The medical procedure does not take more than a quarter of an hour and the patient is free to go home the same day.
Establishing a correct diagnosis of ulcerative colitis is not easy on the grounds that symptoms are not specific. What is more, UC affects people in different ways.
Individuals who have been diagnosed with UC will want to know their outlook. While ulcerative colitis is not curable, there are reasons to be positive as the symptoms can be successfully managed. At this stage, it is of paramount important for sufferers to inform themselves about the illness and seek out treatment. Equally important is for them to request help from IBD organizations. There are organizations out there that provide assistance to people, regardless of the stage of the disease. What they are trying to do is help people and their families through a difficult time.
There are many treatments available for ulcerative colitis. The therapy depends on the severity of the present illness and the manifestations that are visible. The goal of any treatment is to hold back the inflammation, attain remission and, most importantly, maintain remission. Medical care involves drug therapy and surgery.
The most prevalent form of treatment is medication. Many drugs have proven to be effective in treating UC, such as anti-inflammatories, corticosteroids, and immune system suppressors. Anti-inflammatory medications work well for people who suffer from mild to moderate ulcerative colitis. These drugs are administered orally or rectally. Corticosteroids, on the other hand, impede the production of cortisol, thus reducing swelling in the body. Corticosteroids are meant to make ulcerative symptoms much less severe. Immune system suppressors are medications that have effects on the immune system, in the sense that the body is less likely to react to commensal bacteria. It takes time until the therapies work and they can possible have side effects.
Surgery is taken into consideration when the illness does not respond to drugs. And when the disease progresses. The mater of the fact is that, over time, the therapies for ulcerative colitis can become ineffective. A surgical procedure is the only known cure for ulcerative colitis. During surgery, the large intestine and the rectum are removed. In medical terms, the procedure is referred to as a proctocolectomy.
Since the colon and the rectum are taken out, the surgeon has to attach the lower part of the colon to a hole made in the torso. This makes it possible for the waste to leave the body. Surgery has a great effect on the management of ulcerative colitis. Colon cancer, one of the most invasive ones, is a common complication of this inflammatory bowel disease. By eliminating the colon and the rectum, there is no more risk for colon cancer. The transition from polyp to cancer is a fast one, which is the reason why surgery is recommended.
Diet and nutrition are important in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. People with UC have to pay close attention to the act of eating. Certain foods can make the symptoms worse. The edible materials that contribute to the swelling are the fatty and greasy ones. Examples include pizza and hamburgers. Dairy products should be avoided because they can’t be absorbed directly into the blood stream. Dairy products should be eliminates from one’s diet, especially if lactose intolerance is a problem. If this is not possible, then the consumption should be limited.
It is best for people who have ulcerative colitis to follow a low-fiber diet. This type of regimen excludes foods like grains and vegetables that are not properly digested by the body. The goal of the nutritional therapy is to have fewer bowel movements and ease ulcerative colitis symptoms.
Possible risk factors for ulcerative colitis are:
Patients with ulcerative colitis often turn to alternative treatments because they are natural and non-toxic. They largely believe that adding natural therapies will provide them the relief that they are desperately seeking. While alternative treatments do not cure the idiopathic disease, they can ease the symptoms. Here are some examples of alternative treatments for ulcerative colitis:
Probiotics are basically the good bacteria that is found in the digestive system. People who do not have enough probiotics often have digestive disorders. A colony of good bacteria helps the digestive process and promotes gut health. When there are no probiotics, ulcerative colitis worsens.
Herbal medicine has been used for centuries, but only recently has it started to be used to keep inflammatory bowel disease symptoms under control. Sufferers can utilize curcumin. Addition of this ingredient can lead to remission in people with mild to moderate UC. It is advisable to discuss with a gastroenterologist before including curcumin to one’s diet.
Relaxation training is the process that helps a person to relax. It has been discovered that relaxation techniques can be fruitful when it comes to ameliorating pain. During the process, patients understand how to manage their stress and, ultimately, feel at ease. It is important for individuals to relax because stress can affect their disease.