Are you experiencing severe pain and cramps in your abdomen? This may be an early sign of Ulcerative Colitis. Even though Ulcerative Colitis is generally common among Caucasians, people from any race can get affected by it. Let's have a look at what it is, how it affects us and what are the treatments available.
What is Ulcerative Colitis?
It is an acute or chronic Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which affects the inner lining of the large intestine or colon and rectum causing inflammation and ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract. The ulcers may cause bleeding along with pus and mucus. It can be extremely weakening and in severe cases, can lead to life-threatening complications.
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis:
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis develops slowly over time and vary according to the affected area and severity. The symptoms may show suddenly without any warning. Also, there may be periods of remission when few or no symptoms will show. Common symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis are:
‣ Abdominal pain and cramps
‣ Loss of bowel control or constant urge of bowel movement
‣ Bloody stools
‣ Rectal pain and bleeding
‣ Reduced appetite
‣ Weight loss
Causes of Ulcerative Colitis:
Even though the actual cause of Ulcerative Colitis is yet to be known, the following risk factors are known to influence the condition:
‣ Genetic: The risk of you developing Ulcerative Colitis is higher if your parents or siblings have already been affected.
‣ Immune system: The response of your immune system to certain pathogens and infectious toxins can worsen the condition.
‣ Environmental factors: Infectious toxins or foreign particle may influence the development of Ulcerative Colitis.
‣ Age: Even though people of any age can develop Ulcerative Colitis, it is generally diagnosed in people between 15 to 35 years. Although people above 60 can also develop the symptoms.
Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis:
There is no known cure for Ulcerative Colitis but controlled medication and specific treatment can help in reducing the symptoms. Consult a doctor and seek medical care if you find blood in your stool or experience frequent loose movements during pregnancy, severe rectal or abdominal pain, increasing bowel movements with joint pains, eye-sight issues etc.
A thorough rectal examination and a few laboratory tests for checking stool samples, albumen level, blood count, electrolyte level etc., will be required to detect Ulcerative Colitis. The medical therapy for each patient is adjusted according to their symptoms and requirements. If the bleeding or infection gets worse and complications intensify, then the entire colon has to be removed surgically.
Ulcerative Colitis is a life-long disease. Routine checkups and proper care should be maintained to keep the symptoms under control and to prevent it from spreading.