Radiation enteritis

Ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a long-lasting condition that triggers the inflammation of the lining of the large intestine and rectum. Many individuals are usually diagnosed in their 30s. Those who have the condition develop small-sized ulcers and abscesses in the colon and rectum that periodically flare-up and cause blood-streaked stools and diarrhea.

The condition has alternative episodes of flare-ups and remissions once the symptoms vanish. The phases of remission can last for weeks up to years.

The inflammation starts in the rectum and spreads to the other regions of the colon. The area affected tends to vary from one individual to another. Remember that the condition does not affect the stomach, esophagus or small intestine.

Indications of ulcerative colitis

  • Pus or blood in the diarrhea

    Ulcerative colitis
    Abdominal pain is one of the indications of ulcerative colitis.
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Urgent, painful bowel movements

Additionally, the condition might be linked with skin issues, weight loss, joint pain, anemia, eye problems, blood clots and an increased risk for developing colon cancer.

Possible causes of ulcerative colitis

The exact cause is still unknown but it might be an unusual response of the immune system involved in the development of the condition.

A bacterial or viral infection of the colon might instigate uncontrolled inflammation linked with ulcerative colitis.

Management

The treatment for ulcerative colitis might include medications, dietary changes and/or surgery. Even though treatment will not cure the condition, it can help an individual lead a normal life.

It is vital to seek treatment for ulcerative colitis as soon as the symptoms manifest. For severe diarrhea and bleeding episodes, being admitted to a healthcare facility is needed to prevent or treat dehydration, minimize the symptoms and ensure proper nutrition.

Medications

Various types of medications are usually used to minimize the inflammation of the bowel such as:

  • 5-aminosalicyclic acid (5-ASA) – such as sulfasalazine, mesalamine and balsalazide are the main medications utilized to manage ulcerative colitis and available as pills or suppositories.
  • Corticosteroids – these anti-inflammatory drugs are utilized if 5-ASA drugs do not work. These are used to manage those who have a severe case. The use of these are limited due to their side effects and potential long-term complications. Generally, corticosteroids are used for only a brief period to cause remission. The remission is also maintained with 5-ASA medications.
  • Immunosuppresants – these are used if corticosteroids or 5-ASA drugs are not effective
  • Biologics – this a class of medications which includes adalimumab, infliximab and certolizumab

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