Ulcerative Colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disorder that affects the colon and rectum lining. The inflammation starts in the rectum, where small ulcers are formed, and then proceeds to the colon. In rarest of cases, Ulcerative Colitis may affect the small intestine beyond the lower most portion. However, the chances for this are very low or negligible. These ulcers are formed as colon cells die and lead to mucus and pus discharge.
Ulcerative Colitis affects the bowel lining causing excessive damage and death of cells. This condition leads to the formation of ulcers. Formation of ulcers proceeds to bleeding, discharge of mucus and pus. The condition weakens the colon to an extent that the organ no longer is capable of continuing with its normal functioning, leading to frequent bowel movements.
It is unfortunate that causes of Ulcerative Colitis are still unknown. Earlier, doctors and researchers suggested that stress, trauma and wrong diet were the probable reasons. However, lately they have confirmed that these factors only add up to the problem but don't generate the ailment.
Today, the most common assumption about the disease is that it is taken to be an autoimmune disorder (Explained in answer to next question). Again, there are few researchers who take genetic problems to be one possible reason. Researchers continue to drive out the exact cause leading to this health problem.
Autoimmune disorder is a condition where your immune system functions wrongly and attacks cells of the body. Our immune system is required to identify reasons of threat and then generate antibodies to fight the possible foreign entity and eliminate chances of threat.
However in some cases, as is thought about in Ulcerative Colitis, the body affects harmless and rather important bacteria within the colon lining, and thus results in colon inflammation. As explained above, inflammation results in death of cells and formation of ulcers.
The symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis are as follows:
As the disease progresses, it leads to following additional symptoms:
Ulcerative colitis may affect anybody belonging to any gender or age. However, doctors suggest that some remain at greater risk of suffering from the disease. These factors that make individuals more susceptible to the condition include:
Symptoms can very well determine the condition. However, doctors do order for number of diagnostic tests and exams for Ulcerative Colitis. Following are the common diagnosis procedures available for Ulcerative Colitis:
Ulcerative Colitis has two treatment options as follows:
Medication: Doctors suggest drugs that help to reduce inflammation and diarrhea. As frequent bowel movements result in dehydration, your doctor will try to treat this condition as well. Hospitalization may also be suggested if there is excessive loss of water from the body. Some times, medications to control immune system functions are also suggested.
Surgical treatment: If there is excessive bleeding that cannot be controlled with medicines, Ulcerative Colitis needs a surgical cure. Colon may get surgically removed to reduce bleeding and eliminate chances of cancer.
Once the colon is removed, the doctor makes a small opening in the abdominal wall that connects to the lowest portion of small intestine. Waste from the small intestine moves through the opening and collects in a bag. The entire process is known as Proctocolectomy.
If only a part of the colon is removed retaining the rectum, the procedure is known as Ileoanal anastomosis.
As the causes are not yet confirmed, exact preventive measures cannot be suggested. However still, making changes in your diet and lowering stress can definitely help to prevent. Moreover, being more cautious if you are having a family history can help to take early actions.
No. Diet cannot help to cure the disease. It is only medicines and surgery that can treat the condition. However, above dietary recommendations can help to ease out the severity of symptoms and deliver some relief.
Not generally. The disease can be well controlled with medication and surgery. However, late diagnosis can result in additional health disorders and some of them can be fatal. Therefore, opting for timely diagnosis and treatment is something that is of utmost importance.
Yes, if the entire colon is affected. On the other hand, if it is only your lower colon and rectum that are affected, you cannot be precisely considered to be a potential candidate to develop colon cancer. Your chances can be same as anyone else who is not suffering from the disease. Therefore, the doctor needs to conduct an early diagnosis to know how severe is your ulcer.
Women suffering from the disease will mostly have normal pregnancies. However, if you suddenly experience a flare up in the symptoms during pregnancy, then you need to visit the doctor immediately.
In addition, if you suddenly develop colitis symptoms during pregnancy, it is risky. You become more likely to give birth to premature babies.
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