- 14 Symptoms
The life expectancy of patients with ulcerative is usually the same as the general population. Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a lifelong disease with periods of flare-ups and remissions. The longer the periods of remission, the better will be the general condition of the patient and lower will be the risk of complications. About 10% of patients improve after one attack, and the rest may have multiple flares throughout life. Appropriate treatment, diet, and lifestyle modifications are necessary to prevent complications some of which could be life-threatening. The doctor would advise a treatment plan even during the periods of remission. Regular screening with colonoscopy is required, the frequency of which would be planned by the doctor. It may be done once every one to three years.
What are the causes of ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affecting the inner lining of the large intestine (large bowel) leading to erosion and ulcers. It is a lifelong illness with no specific cause or cure. Patients have repeated cycles of flare-ups and remission with potential manifestations beyond the gut (extraintestinal manifestations). There is a profound emotional and social impact on the affected patients.
What are the causes of ulcerative colitis?
The exact cause of ulcerative colitis (UC) is unknown, and the possible causes are as follows:
- Immune reactions
- The body’s immune system attacks the inner lining of the large intestine (an autoimmune disorder).
- Environmental factors
- - Diet rich in fat, sulfur, and meat
- - Alcohol and substance abuse
- - Psychological stress
- Certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), increase the risk of UC.
- Milk consumption may exacerbate the disease
14 signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
Patients commonly present with the following signs and symptoms:
- Rectal bleeding
- Frequent stools
- Mucous discharge from the rectum
- Tenesmus (constant feeling of needing to empty the bowels)
- Lower abdominal pain and cramps
- Severe diarrhea
- Abdominal distention/bloating
- Increased heart rate
- Severe abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Pus discharge through the anus
- Extracolonic manifestations (inflammation of the eyes, joints, skin and lungs)
What are the types of ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative proctitis: Inflammation limited to the area close to the anus (rectum). Symptoms are usually mild, and rectal bleeding may be the only sign.
- Proctosigmoiditis: Inflammation involves the lower end of the colon
- Left-sided colitis: Inflammation extends from the rectum up through the sigmoid and descending colon
- Pancolitis: Involves the entire colon
- Acute severe ulcerative colitis (UC): This rare form of colitis affects the entire colon and causes severe pain, profuse diarrhea, bleeding, fever, and inability to eat.
The severity of UC can be graded as follows:
- Mild: Bleeding per rectum and fewer than four bowel motions per day
- Moderate: Bleeding per rectum with more than four bowel motions per day
- Severe: Bleeding per rectum more than four bowel motions per day and systemic illness with protein loss from the body
What is the treatment of ulcerative colitis?
The physician would do a complete physical assessment, advice a series of blood and radiological investigations (X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan, etc.). Colonoscopy, endoscopy, biopsy, stool examination, and other tests would be required.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a lifelong disease with constant periods of flare-ups and remissions (periods without symptoms, which may last for weeks or years). Presently, there is no permanent medical cure for it, but there are various medications that can provide symptomatic relief, reduce inflammation, and manage flare-ups.
Treatment involves medical and surgical management, depending on the severity of the disease. Patients would also require dietary and lifestyle changes.
Medical treatment includes the following:
- Medication to suppress and/or modulate the immune system
- Anti-diarrhea medication
Surgical treatment includes the following:
- Colectomy (surgical removal of part of the colon or whole colon) may be required in severe cases.
- Diet low in fat, meat, sulfur and milk
- Management of psychological stress and emotional support
What are the complications of ulcerative colitis?
The possible complications of ulcerative colitis are as follows:
- Bleeding: The ulcers and erosions in the inner lining of the large intestine can perforate through the layers of the intestine causing bleeding.
- Nutrition loss and dehydration: Chronic diarrhea and inflammation lead to dehydration, nutrition loss, and a decrease in the absorption of nutrients.
- Inflammation of other organs: Inflammation of the eyes, joints, skin, liver, and lungs
- Toxic megacolon: A rare complication that causes swelling and ballooning of the colon manifesting as:
- Swollen and painful abdomen
- Colon cancer and ulcerative colitis: The chances of colon cancer increase if the patient has had ulcerative colitis (UC) for over eight years. Appropriate treatment and the availability of new treatment options have lowered the risk of colon cancer.
Latest Digestion News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top How Serious Is Ulcerative Colitis? Related Articles
Anemia Symptoms and SignsAnemia is a disease marked by low numbers of red blood cells. Low iron or underlying disease, like cancer, may be to blame. Treatment can resolve anemia.
What Causes Abdominal Pain?Abdominal pain can have many causes that range from mild to severe. Some of these causes include bloating, gas, colitis, endometriosis, food poisoning, GERD, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), ovarian cysts, abdominal adhesions, diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, gallbladder disease, liver disease, and cancers. Signs and symptoms of the more serious causes include dehydration, bloody or black tarry stools, severe abdominal pain, pain with no urination or painful urination. Treatment for abdominal pain depends upon the cause.
Abdominal Pain PicturesAbdominal pain is a symptom of many possible conditions including appendicitis, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, and other conditions. It may accompany constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, and other symptoms. Find out the potential causes of pain in the abdomen and learn when you should see a doctor.
Anemia: Symptoms, Treatment and CausesAnemia is the condition of having less than the normal number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. The oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood is, therefore, decreased. There are several types of anemia such as iron deficiency anemia (the most common type), sickle cell anemia, vitamin B12 anemia, pernicious anemia, and aplastic anemia. Symptoms of anemia may include fatigue, malaise, hair loss, palpitations, menstruation, and medications. Treatment for anemia includes treating the underlying cause for the condition. Iron supplements, vitamin B12 injections, and certain medications may also be necessary.
Blood Disorders QuizExactly what is sickle cell anemia? Learn about sickle cell and other diseases by testing your IQ with the Blood and Bleeding Disorders Quiz.
Blood in the Stool (Rectal Bleeding, Hematochezia)Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding (hematochezia) refers to the passage of bright red blood from the anus. Common causes include anal fissures, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, colitis, Crohn's disease, colon and rectum polyps, and cancer. The color of the blood in the stool may provide information about the origin of the bleeding. The color of stool with blood in it may range from black, red, maroon, green yellow, gray, or white, and may be tarry, or sticky. Treatment of blood in the stool depends on the cause.
Canker Sores (Causes, Treatment, and Prevention)Canker sores are a common complaint, and are small ulcers on the inside of the mouth. Canker sores aren't contagious (as opposed to cold sores), and typically last for 10-14 days usually healing without scarring. A variety of things cause canker sores, for example, medications (aspirin, beta-blockers, NSAIDs, high blood pressure medication, and antibiotics); injury to the mouth from dental work, braces, or sports accidents; acidic foods; allergies; and diseases or conditions like celiac disease, Crohn's disease, and lupus. Canker sores can be cure with home remedies, and prescription and OTC topical and oral medication.
ColitisColitis refers to inflammation of the inner lining of the colon. Symptoms of the inflammation of the colon lining include diarrhea, pain, and blood in the stool. There are several causes of colitis, including infection, ischemia of the colon, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, infectious colitis like C. difficile, or microscopic colitis). Treatment depends on the cause of the colitis.
DiarrheaDiarrhea is a change is the frequency and looseness of bowel movements. Symptoms associated with diarrhea are cramping, abdominal pain, and the sensation of rectal urgency. Causes of diarrhea include viral, bacterial, or parasite infection, gastroenteritis, food poisoning, and drugs. Absorbents and anti-motility medications are used to treat diarrhea.
IBD SlideshowWhat is inflammatory bowel disease? IBD can include Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Learn more about testing, treatments, and the home care needed to manage inflammatory bowel disease.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a GI (gastrointestinal) disorder with signs and symptoms that include abdominal pain, bloating, increased gas (flatulence), abdominal cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and food intolerance.Two new tests are now available that may help diagnose irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea and constipation (IBS-M) irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D), and irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C). Treatment for IBS includes diet changes, medications, and other lifestyle changes to manage symptoms.
IBS QuizWhat are symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? Take this quiz and get quick facts on causes and treatment options for this common and uncomfortable digestive disorder.
Low FODMAP Diet for IBS
FODMAPs are foods that contain sugar alcohols and short chain carbohydrates. The gut can't digest them very well. There are "low" FODMAP foods and "high" FODMAP foods. Foods high in FODMAPs lay in the gut and ferment, which causes symptoms of:
- Excessive gas
- Abdominal pain
Some people with digestive diseases and disorders, for example, IBS, microscopic colitis, IBD (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis), and other functional bowel disorders often are placed on a low FODMAP diet to decrease the amount of high FODMAPs foods in the diet, which create uncomfortable symptoms.
Night sweats are severe hot flashes that occur at night and result in a drenching sweat. The causes of night sweats in most people are not serious, like menopause in women, sleep apnea, medications, alcohol withdrawal, and thyroid problems. However, more serious diseases like cancer and HIV also can cause night sweats. Your doctor will treat your night sweats depending upon the cause.
You may experience other signs and symptoms that are associated with night sweats, which depend upon the cause, but may include, shaking, and chills with a fever caused by an infection like the flu or pneumonia; unexplained weight loss due to lymphoma; women in perimenopause or menopause may also have vaginal dryness, mood swings, and hot flashes during the day; and low blood sugar in people with diabetes.
Other causes of night sweats include medications like NSAIDs (aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), antidepressants, sildenafil (Viagra), and abuse of prescription or illegal drugs and drug withdrawal; hormone disorders like pheochromocytoma and carcinoid syndrome; idiopathic hyperhidrosis; infections like endocarditis, AIDs, and abscesses; alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal; drug abuse, addiction, and withdrawal; and stroke.
A doctor or other health care professional can treat your night sweats after the cause has been diagnosed.
Ulcerative Colitis QuizWhat is ulcerative colitis and what risks are associated with suffering over the long term? Take this Ulcerative Colitis Quiz to learn causes, symptoms, and treatments for this painful digestive disorder.
Ulcerative ColitisUlcerative Colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease and is slightly different than Crohn's disease. Learn the causes, symptoms, diet, and treatment options associated with ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative Colitis SurgeryUlcerative colitis surgery is performed on approximately 25% to 40% of people with the disease. There are various types of ulcerative colitis. Complications of the surgery include pouch failure, intestinal blockage from adhesions, inflammation of the pouch, and more watery and frequent bowel movements.