Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the colon and rectum. The disease is a result of an irregular response in the immune system. While the healthy and functioning immune system works to fight and protect against threat and infection, it plays a different role in people with IBD. In this case the immune system mistakes bacteria and beneficial cells as damaging and unfamiliar. When this occurs, the body responds by releasing white blood cells to fight off what the immune system believes to be harmful substances in the body. This results in inflammation, irritation and ulcers that occur in the innermost lining of the large intestine.
Experts are not sure what causes ulcerative colitis, but it is found in people of all ages and the majority of people affected by UC are diagnosed by the age of 30. People with ulcerative colitis often experience debilitating symptoms such as abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, and frequent bloody bowel movements. While there is known cure, physicians and experts are always working to find new methods to improve the quality of life for patients living with ulcerative colitis by the use of various treatments.
The goal of treatment for any chronic condition, including UC, is to avoid symptom flare-ups in order to provide patients with a high quality of life that is free from symptoms or, at the very least, prepare for the causes and likelihood of a flare-up before it occurs.
Treatment for ulcerative colitis can include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Diet modifications
A GI specialist recommends treatment options that best suit a particular patient’s individual situation. Most providers advise patients to take on diet and lifestyle modifications in order to ease or even end symptoms from occurring.
Use of over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications are the second most popular treatment for ulcerative colitis. These medications help to reduce the intestinal inflammation caused by UC. In certain cases, surgery may be a patient’s best option for UC treatment, but this is typically only recommended if lifestyle changes, diet modification, and medications prove to be unsuccessful.
Contact a physician at InSite Digestive Health Care today to discuss symptoms and schedule a consultation. Patients often expect that they have to live with UC or Crohn’s disease, but with simple and effective treatment, patients can greatly improve their quality of life.