Ulcerative Colitis in Connecticut
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What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is part of a larger group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This condition results in irritating swelling and ulcerations inside the gastrointestinal tract, most often the large intestine. Ulcerative colitis differs from Crohn's disease (the alternate form of IBD) because it is restricted to the colon. Crohn's disease, conversely, is typically experienced at the end of the small bowel and beginning of one's colon but can potentially affect any portion of the intestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. Also, ulcerative colitis involves only the colon's inner lining, while Crohn’s disease can impact the whole of the intestinal wall.
People diagnosed with ulcerative colitis often experience painful GI troubles that create problems in their day-to-day lives. At Connecticut GI, our board-certified gastroenterologists regularly diagnose and treat ulcerative colitis and collaborate with people to assist in providing relief from the symptoms it causes. To find treatment for ulcerative colitis in Connecticut, please contact a location nearest you today.
Are there multiple types of ulcerative colitis?
There are several unique types of ulcerative colitis that are typically classified by anatomy:
Ulcerative proctitis: The inflammation of the colon is confined to the rectum and is usually the least severe variety of ulcerative colitis. A common indicator of ulcerative proctitis is bleeding from the rectum.
Left-sided colitis: Inflammation is more widespread through the colon and might affect more than the rectum but is restrained to all or part of the sigmoid and descending colon. It often causes upsetting symptoms, some of which could include bloody diarrhea and unplanned weight loss.
Pancolitis: This type of ulcerative colitis is also known as extensive colitis and can involve the entire colon. Symptoms could include extreme bloody diarrhea, extreme pain in the abdomen, and tiredness.
Acute severe ulcerative colitis: This is a more common form of ulcerative colitis that affects the entire colon. Its symptoms might include extreme pain and the loss of the ability to eat. This condition often requires hospitalization and carries an increased risk of surgery.
What is the cause of ulcerative colitis?
The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is still a mystery. However, we have identified some specific factors that seem to heighten the onset of ulcerative colitis and its resulting challenges.
- Genetics: An individual may inherit genetic material from their parent or parents, which increases the likelihood of developing ulcerative colitis.
- Immune system: Internal bacteria or viruses could trigger the onset of ulcerative colitis. Anytime bacteria or a virus becomes present in one's digestive tract, the body calls upon the immune system to engage the virus or bacteria. Anytime this occurs, the body directs white blood cells to the colon, attacking healthy cells and tissue. Thereby your colon or large intestine becomes inflamed.
Are there risk factors for ulcerative colitis?
A few of the complicating factors related to having ulcerative colitis include:
- Age: Ulcerative colitis typically presents before the age of 30.
- Race or ethnicity: Caucasians and people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent are at a higher risk of developing ulcerative colitis; still, it can affect any race.
- Family history: If a family member lives with ulcerative colitis, you may have an elevated risk of developing this disease.
What are the common symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
Many symptoms related to ulcerative colitis develop slowly and can vary from mild to severe. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis commonly include:
- Diarrhea with pus or blood
- Bloody stool
- Stomach cramps
- Mouth sores
- Loss of normal menstrual cycle
- Sudden weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal pain
- Drainage or pain around or near the anus
Should you ever notice blood in your stool, please contact your physician or a specialist in Connecticut immediately. A gastroenterologist should be seen if you suffer from any of the above symptoms, or a combination of symptoms, on a persistent basis. The board-certified gastroenterologists at Connecticut GI offer specialized treatment for ulcerative colitis and can help treat and manage these symptoms.
How do you treat ulcerative colitis?
The main objectives of ulcerative colitis treatments at Connecticut GI are to manage the inflammation that triggers the symptoms and thereby enter into remission of the disease. Additional treatment includes regular cancer screenings, as ulcerative colitis increases your risk of colon cancer. The primary parts of ulcerative colitis treatments are listed below:
Antibiotics: Antibiotics can help eliminate bacteria known to cause the excessive immune system reaction that is the cause of inflammation. This is not the primary form of treatment, but it can be used in collaboration with alternate therapies.
Anti-inflammatory drugs: Anti-inflammatory medications utilized to treat ulcerative colitis are oral 5-aminosalicylates and corticosteroids. Corticosteroids assist in reducing inflammation in the body and can be administered along with immune system suppressants. Oral 5-aminosalicylates are also helpful in the reduction of swelling in your body.
Additional supplements and medications could be suggested to assist in the control and management of ulcerative colitis symptoms. These may include:
- Calcium and vitamin D supplements
- Iron supplements
- Shots of vitamin B-12
Long-term anti-inflammatory therapies: These therapies address our body’s abnormal immune response to viruses and bacteria. The immunosuppressant drugs your Connecticut gastroenterologist might prescribe include:
Nutrition and diet: Your GI provider may recommend a unique nutrition plan to assist in the relief of symptoms and aid in inducing remission.
Surgery: In serious situations, surgical intervention might be needed to remove a piece of, or the complete, rectum or colon.
Ulcerative Colitis FAQs
Will ulcerative colitis go away?
Currently, no cure has been identified for this disorder. Medication may manage the condition and any symptoms, but it won’t cure it. It can, however, aid you in reaching and staying in remission.
Was my ulcerative colitis caused by my diet?
A connection between diet and a definite cause of this GI disorder has not yet been detected. Certain diet choices, however, that have been associated to a greater risk of getting the condition. These foods include foods that are high in fats, sugar, and refined carbs and foods that are low in fruits, vegetables, and fiber.
Who is able to diagnose and treat ulcerative colitis?
Your GI issues will likely result in a visit to your primary doctor. If your PCP suspects ulcerative colitis, they should refer you to a gastrointestinal specialist, like those at Connecticut GI. It is helpful to consult a provider that focuses on GI health.
Can anything help me reach and stay in remission from ulcerative colitis?
In the event you’ve entered remission for your ulcerative colitis, you probably will want to do anything to remain there. A few things to remember while you’re in remission include:
- Stress: Your stress may lead to a flare-up. Getting good sleep, exercising regularly, and learning your stress management might help reduce your chances of further symptoms.
- Medications: If you’re experiencing fever or pain, you may need to use acetaminophen like Tylenol® as opposed to an NSAID like Motrin® or Advil® since acetaminophen usually won’t trigger your symptoms. Talk with your doctor for more information.
- Medication change: If you notice your current medications seem to trigger your ulcerative colitis symptoms, please get in touch with our office. We may want to swap out your medication for a medication less likely to lead to a flare-up.
Custom-made treatment plans for ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis can impact a person's overall comfort and digestive well-being. With specialized treatment, however, one can manage the condition and enhance their quality of life. Whether you are in the midst of the initial symptoms or controlling ulcerative colitis flare-ups after remission, the gastroenterologists at Connecticut GI can provide you with individualized care options to assist you in entering remission. To consult a provider who offers treatment for ulcerative colitis in Connecticut, please contact one of our locations in your community today.
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