Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory disease of the intestines.

It causes inflammation of the lining of the colon and uldersUlcerative Colitis

The exact cause is unknown

Most patients are between the ages of 15 and 40 years

The most common symptoms of abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea

Although there are no drugs that treat specific

Diagnosis includes a physical exam and blood tests

Enough is managed by an experienced physician, the condition does not cause a significant reduction in life expectancy of people affected.


The disease causes inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the colon. Normally, inflammation occurs in the rectum and lower colon, but can affect the entire colon. Because of the inflammation, bowel emptying frequently, causing diarrhea. The ulcers develop in the area where the tumor was destroyed cells lining the gut and they bleed and produce pus and mucus.

Colitis are inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), the collective name for non-infectious diseases that cause inflammation of the intestines. It can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to other intestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease differs from ulcerative colitis causes inflammation deeper into the intestinal wall, and also often involving the small intestine.


Theories about what causes this disease abound, but none has been proven. The most popular theory is that the immune system reacts inappropriately to an agent, such as food components, virus or bacteria in the intestinal lumen, causing ongoing inflammation in the intestinal wall. Patients with ulcerative colitis have abnormalities of the immune system, but doctors were unable to determine whether these abnormalities are a cause or consequence of the disease. Ulcerative colitis is not caused by emotional distress or sensitivity to certain foods or food products, although they may trigger these symptoms.

It is possible that the affected person has a normal defense mechanism against bacteria that normally burn. Long-term reaction to certain bacteria or viruses may be significant.

Who is and who is at risk?

Most people with ulcerative colitis between the ages of 15 40, although children and older people can also develop the disease as well. Men and women are equally affected and the disease seems to run in some families.

Symptoms and signs

The most common symptoms of abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. Patients may also experience the following:

fatigue and a general feeling of fatigue

Weight Loss


rectal bleeding

loss of body fluids and nutrients

frequent and urgent need to expend blood and mucus, there may be some benches too

diarrhea in more serious cases

abdominal pain, often before passing stool

Approximately half of the patients with only mild symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Another frequent fever, bloody diarrhea, nausea, and severe abdominal cramps. Pain can also cause problems such as arthritis, inflammation of the eye, liver disease (fatty liver, hepatitis, cirrhosis, and primary sclerosing cholangitis), osteoporosis, skin rashes, anemia, and kidney stones. No one knows for sure why problems occur outside the colon. Scientists believe that the complication occurs when the immune system triggers inflammation in other parts of the body. But these problems are usually mild and may improve if colitis were treated properly.

Although treatable, there is no specific cure for the disease, and the condition can cause problems on and off throughout the life of the patient. For the best part, the pain will feel fine and do not suffer from these symptoms. After remission of the disease. But the flare from time to time and be active – it relapsed. In any flare-up of symptoms can be better, worse or the same in the final battle. Enough is managed by an experienced physician, the condition does not cause a significant reduction in life expectancy of people affected.


A thorough physical exam and a series of tests necessary to diagnose ulcerative colitis. Blood tests may be done to check for anemia, which could indicate that there is bleeding in the colon or rectum. Blood tests may also uncover a high white blood cell count, which is an inflammation of the signing of the places in the body. By testing a stool sample, the doctor can tell if there is bleeding or infection in the colon or rectum.

Colonoscopy can also be called for. This is when the doctor introduced endoscope (a long, flexible, lighted tube connected to a computer monitor and TV) in the anus to see the inside of the colon and rectum.

Your doctor will be able to see inflammation, bleeding or injury to the intestinal wall. A biopsy can also be done later, which involves taking a sample of tissue from the lining of the colon to look at under a microscope. A barium enema X-ray of the colon may be required and involves filling the colon with barium, a white chalk solution. White barium X-ray film shows, a doctor who gives a clear view of the colon, and any ulcers or abnormalities that may be present.


Treatment depends on how severe the condition but most people treated with the drug. Severe cases may require surgery in which the entire colon removed. As the only cure for ulcerative colitis.

Management involves treatment of ulcerative colitis flares of active disease, as well as trying to ensure that the disease remains in remission after.

Steroids (cortisol) is the mainstay of treatment of active disease, and depending on the extent and severity of the disease, can be administered orally, rectally (enema) or as an intravenous injection. Among the side effects of steroid weight gain, acne, facial hair, hypertension, mood swings, and increased risk of infection, which is why doctors take care when patients take medications, and use it only when necessary.

Thinning of the bones (osteopenia / osteoporosis) often associated with inflammatory bowel disease. These complications are greatly exacerbated by long-term use of steroids.

Symptoms can sometimes be so severe that patients may need hospitalization. This would include severe bleeding, and / or diarrhea that causes dehydration.

When the disease is in remission, maintenance therapy is usually given drugs such as sulphasalazine, Asacol or Pentasa. Asacol is also available as suppositories and enemas to patients where the disease is limited to the end of the large intestine (rectum and sigmoid colon). Among the possible side effects of medication nausea, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea, and headache.

New drugs for inflammatory bowel disease, with more targeted effects on the immune system, is currently undergoing clinical trials.

In some cases, these symptoms can be triggered by certain foods. If the person is to identify the foods, can help prevent the management of his / her condition. Dairy products are foods that are often involved, but certainly not universal.

In view of the chronic, often predicts that the nature of this disease, regular visits to the doctor or clinic with a special interest in inflammatory bowel disease is highly recommended to monitor the situation.

Up to 40% of patients with ulcerative colitis during their colons removed because of bleeding, severe pain does not respond to medical therapy, rupture of the colon, and / or risk of cancer.

The most appropriate operation for ulcerative colitis is proctocolectomy with ileo-anal pouch. A temporary ileostomy may be required before the final formation of ileo-anal pouch. In this operation the entire colon and rectum are removed first. A small hole in the abdomen is usually made, called a stoma (ileotomy). The end of the small intestine, called the ileum, is attached here. Waste will travel through the small intestine and exit the body through the stoma.

Stoma is about the size of two rand coin and is usually located on the lower right side of the abdomen. Bags imposed on opening to collect waste, emptied when necessary.

To prevent long-term needs of the ileostomy, an ileo pouch anal anastomosis is usually performed. In this operation, at the end of the small intestine is folded on itself to create a reservoir (pouch), and then connected to the anus. In this way, the waste from the intestines to pass in the usual way, even a loose bowel movements and rather frequently (approximately six days). Usually a successful operation and is offered to most patients with ulcerative colitis who require surgery.


Do patients with ulcerative colitis increased risk of developing cancer. The risk of cancer increases the duration and extent of disease in the colon. If only the lower colon and rectum are involved, the risk of cancer is no higher than normal. When the entire colon is affected, the risk of cancer is increased dramatically, and in the region of 5% after ten years of illness. It is therefore important that patients with ulcerative colitis seen by an experienced doctor on a regular basis.

If they have extensive disease that has more than five to seven years, they have their colons checked periodically (with colonoscopy) for one of the early signs of cancer. If you find cancer early, surgery (proctocolectomy) is usually recommended.


Not really. Because the cause is unknown, the best bet is to regularly consult a doctor if the disease runs in your family and also seek medical advice as soon as symptoms appear.

When to call the doctor

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