Ulcerative Colitis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods

By: Juliet Cohen

Ulcerative colitis (UC) refers to a disease in which the lining of the colon (the large intestine) becomes inflamed. It occurs at any age. The disease may involve the entire colon (pancolitis), only the rectum (ulcerative proctitis) or, more commonly, somewhere between the two. The amount of the colon affected usually predicts the severity of the disease. The disease usually begins in the rectum or the rectum and the sigmoid colon (the lower end of the large intestine) but may eventually spread along part or all of the large intestine. In patients with ulcerative colitis, ulcers and inflammation of the inner lining of the colon lead to symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. Like Crohn's disease, another common IBD, ulcerative colitis can be painful and debilitating and sometimes can lead to life-threatening complications. Ulcerative colitis is a rare disease, with an incidence of about one person per 10,000 in North America. The disease tends to be more common in northern areas.

Ulcerative colitis is defined as mild, moderate or severe, according to the frequency of diarrhoea, the presence of blood and how generally unwell the person is. Ulcerative proctitis, which is confined to the rectum, is a very common and relatively benign form of ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is more common than Crohn's disease. The disease may involve the entire colon (pancolitis), only the rectum (ulcerative proctitis) or, more commonly, somewhere between the two. It can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are similar to other intestinal disorders and to another type of IBD called Crohn's disease. Blood tests and stool samples help diagnosis, but the key test is internal examination of the bowel, and biopsy. It most commonly begin during adolescence and early adulthood, but they also can begin during childhood and later in life. Ulcerative colitis is an intermittent disease, with periods of exacerbated symptoms, and periods that are relatively symptom-free.

Causes of Ulcerative colitis

The common causes and risk factor's of Ulcerative colitis include the following:

The exect cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown.

Abnormal activation of the immune system in the intestines.

A family history of Ulcerative colitis.

Smoking.

Generalized enhanced reactivity against intestinal bacterial antigens.

Environmental factors such as nutrition and exposure to various infections.

Symptoms of Ulcerative colitis

Some sign and symptoms related to Ulcerative colitis are as follows:

Loss of body fluids and nutrients.

Weight loss.

Nausea.

Abdominal cramps and pain.

Night sweats.

Fatigue.

Loss of appetite.

Fever.

Extreme tiredness.

Treatment of Ulcerative colitis

Here is list of the methods for treating Ulcerative colitis:

Aminosalicylates, drugs that contain 5-aminosalicyclic acid (5-ASA), help control inflammation.

Drugs such as azathioprine and mercaptopurine have been used to maintain remissions in people with ulcerative colitis who would otherwise need long-term corticosteroid therapy.

Taking nutritional supplements to restore normal growth and development in children and teens.

Steroids can help reduce inflammation, but they have numerous side effects, including a puffy face, excessive facial hair, night sweats, insomnia and hyperactivity. Long-term use of these drugs in children can lead to stunted growth.

Laxatives and antidiarrhoeals medicines.

Surgery is used in people who have severe symptoms that are not controlled by medicines, who have unacceptable side effects from medicines, or who have a very high risk of colon cancer because of extensive inflammation in the whole colon.

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