Ulcerative Colitis: Explore Its Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
Living with a chronic condition like ulcerative colitis (UC) can be challenging. But with the right knowledge and support, it is possible to lead a fulfilling life. Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that primarily affects the large intestine (colon) and rectum, causing various symptoms and occasional flare-ups. At GI Alliance, our board-certified gastroenterologists routinely treat this common digestive condition. Read on as our team explains the causes and symptoms of ulcerative colitis, available treatments, and strategies for managing flare-ups of the disease.
What causes ulcerative colitis?
While the exact cause of ulcerative colitis is not fully understood, it is believed to result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and immunological factors. Some factors that may contribute to the development of ulcerative colitis include:
- Genetic predisposition
- Immune system dysfunction
- Environmental factors
- Abnormal gut microbiota
- Stress and psychological factors
It is important to note that ulcerative colitis is a complex disease, and the interplay between these factors is not yet fully understood. Research is ongoing to better understand the causes and mechanisms behind ulcerative colitis. If you suspect you have ulcerative colitis or have concerns about your digestive health, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Our providers at GI Alliance are ready to help.
What are the signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis symptoms can vary from person to person, but common indicators include the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Persistent diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
- Urgency to have a bowel movement
- Weight loss
- Reduced appetite
It is crucial to be aware of these signs and seek medical attention if you experience persistent or severe symptoms. Early diagnosis and intervention can help in managing the condition effectively.
How is ulcerative colitis treated?
Our gastrointestinal doctors offer ulcerative colitis treatment. Such solutions help control inflammation, alleviate symptoms, and maintain long-term remission. The first line of treatment usually involves medication such as aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, immunomodulators, or biologics. These medications help reduce inflammation and manage symptoms. Surgery may be necessary in some instances, but this is typically reserved for severe cases or complications.
How are ulcerative colitis flare-ups managed?
Ulcerative colitis flare-ups are periods of intensified symptoms and inflammation in the digestive system. While flare-ups can be unpredictable, there are steps you can take to manage and minimize their impact. Adhering to your prescribed treatment plan is crucial. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, stress reduction techniques, and a balanced diet, can help manage symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups. It is also important to communicate openly with your healthcare team during flare-ups for prompt adjustments to your treatment plan if necessary.
Take control of your journey: Get help for ulcerative colitis
By understanding the symptoms, seeking appropriate medical care, managing flare-ups, and adopting a healthy lifestyle, you can take control of your ulcerative colitis. If you or someone you know is living with ulcerative colitis, take the first step toward better management by consulting a gastrointestinal doctor at GI Alliance. Remember, early intervention and effective treatment can significantly affect your quality of life. Reach out to one of our locations today to request a consultation.