Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for tag: Ulcerative Colitis

By Advanced Gastroenterology Group
February 10, 2021
Category: GI Care
Tags: Ulcerative Colitis  
Ulcerative ColitisApproximately 750,000 people in the US are living with ulcerative colitis. While relatively less common than other bowel diseases, you probably can’t go very long without seeing an ad for medications that are designed to treat symptoms of UC. Perhaps you see these ads and realize that the symptoms they are talking about are ones you experience. Could you have ulcerative colitis? Fortunately, your gastroenterologist will be able to shed light on this issue.
 
What is ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic bowel disease that causes flare-ups of inflammation and bleeding ulcers in the colon and rectum, which can affect your ability to digest food. Ulcerative colitis is one of the two main types of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
 
What are the signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis?

Are you dealing with unexplained and persistent stomach pains accompanied by diarrhea? This can be an early warning sign that UC. In the very beginning, you may notice minor symptom flare-ups that can easily be attributed to a variety of other problems. So, it isn’t always easy to spot the signs of UC right away.
 
If you’ve been dealing with diarrhea and stomach pains that come and go or that last for days on end, it’s a good idea to see a gastroenterologist.
 
If UC goes untreated or undiagnosed, you may start to notice nausea, loss of appetite, or unexpected weight loss. Ulcerative colitis also causes symptoms that affect other systems of the body besides the digestive tract. Those with ulcerative colitis may also develop,
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Fevers
  • Joint pain
  • Sores and rashes
How is ulcerative colitis treated?

While there is no cure for ulcerative colitis, your gastroenterologist can prescribe medications, therapies or surgery, and recommend lifestyle changes that can help with symptom remission and reduce the number and severity of flare-ups. Treatment plans for UC typically include,
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids
  • Immunosuppressants reduce inflammation by suppressing the immune system
  • Biologics, which also act on the immune system
  • Pain relievers
  • Dietary changes (eliminating gluten and dairy; limiting fiber intake)
  • Stress management techniques
  • Exercise
  • Supplementation (iron may be prescribed if you have anemia caused by UC)
  • Anti-diarrheal medications
  • Surgery to remove the colon and rectum (in more severe cases)
When in doubt, call a gastroenterologist. A gastroenterologist specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the gut including ulcerative colitis, and they can help you get the answers and care you need to make living with ulcerative colitis more manageable.
By Advanced Gastroenterology Group
November 07, 2019
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: Ulcerative Colitis  

Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation and ulcers within the lining of the colon (aka: the large intestines) and the rectum. Symptoms are usually subtle at first but get progressively worse. Common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rectal bleeding and pain
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • The inability to defecate

While symptoms are usually mild or moderate, some patients deal with severe and debilitating symptoms. With UC, it is possible to have flare-ups with bouts of remission. If you are noticing regular chances to your bowels or any of the symptoms above it’s important that you turn to a gastroenterologist for a proper evaluation. Untreated ulcerative colitis can cause issues and potentially serious complications.

If your gastroenterologist has diagnosed you with ulcerative colitis you may be wondering what your treatment options are. The treatment plan that your doctor creates for you will depend on the type and severity of your symptoms. Your doctor can help you manage your symptoms effectively to make living with this chronic digestive problem easier.

Treatment for ulcerative colitis usually includes a combination of lifestyle changes and prescription medications. Lifestyle modifications that can help ease and reduce symptoms include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Staying hydrated
  • Proper sleep and rest
  • Avoiding fatty, greasy foods and opting for easier-to-digest foods
  • Avoiding over-the-counter antidiarrheal medications (as regular use can lead to complications)
  • Finding ways to effectively manage stress
  • Turning to a counselor, therapist or support group
  • Avoiding smoking, alcohol, caffeine, and other foods and drinks that could trigger symptoms

There are several medications that may be used to treat ulcerative colitis symptoms. Common ulcerative colitis medications include:

5-ASA: this is the most commonly used medication for treating UC

Corticosteroids: often used for moderate to severe cases of US

Immunomodulator medications: used to reduce inflammation

Biologics: used to reduce inflammation by targeting a specific protein produced by the immune system

The only way to get rid of ulcerative colitis is surgery to remove the colon; however, surgery usually isn’t recommended unless medications and other nonsurgical treatment options cannot properly control ulcers and inflammation. If there is a bleed or tear within the colon this may also warrant surgery.

Are you experiencing symptoms of ulcerative colitis? Want to discuss your treatment options with a doctor who understands what you’re going through? If you said “yes” then it’s time to turn to a gastroenterologist for the specialized care you need.