Ulcerative colitis is a disease within the inflammatory bowel disease category with Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation and ulcers, in the lining of the rectum and colon. Symptoms may be similar to other conditions. They will include
- Abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Rectal bleeding
- Loss of body fluids and nutrients
Having uncontrolled colitis long term increases the chances for other medical conditions, generally including arthritis, eye inflammation, liver disease, osteoporosis, skin rashes, anemia and kidney stones. These conditions tend to be directly related to colitis and treated, these other conditions are usually go away.
Ulcerative colitis occurs most often in people 15 to 40 years of age. There is no known cause. The disease appears to run in families, but no current understand of what genes would cause it. There is also some evidence that the body’s immune system reacts to a virus or bacteria by causing ongoing inflammation in the intestinal wall. However this, and other theories have not yet been proven.
Stress does not seem to cause ulcerative colitis nor certain foods or food products, but these factors may set off symptoms.
About five percent of people will develop colon cancer, that have ulcerative colitis. The risk increases with the term and lack of treatment with the disease as well as now much area it spans in the colon.
Diagnosis for IBD is done with a physical exam, blood tests to check for anemia and white blood cell count. There will also be a stool examination for internal bleeding. Depending on the results a doctor may order a colonoscopy. This allows the doctor to see inside the colon and perform a biopsy if necessary. Another tool would be a barium enema where the patient ingests a white chalky solution which can be seen in an x-ray. The barium will reflect the lining and textures of the colon lining.
Treatments include drug therapy and surgery. Symptoms may go on for years before the person is relieved..