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There Ulcerative colitis it is a long-term condition that is characterized by inflammation of the colon and rectum, or rather of the large intestine and the final part of the intestine, where the feces are "stored". Well, small ulcers can develop on the colon wall, which in turn can bleed and produce pus.
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis
THE main symptoms of ulcerative colitis I'm:
- recurrent diarrhea, which may contain blood, mucus or pus,
- belly pain,
- need to empty your bowels often.
In addition to that one may also experience a feeling of extreme tiredness (fatigue), loss of appetite and weight loss.
There severity of symptoms varies depending on the amount of inflamed rectum and colon and the severity of the inflammation. For some people, this condition has a significant impact on their daily life, while for others, the condition is quite mild.
Thus, some patients may go for weeks or months with very mild symptoms, or no symptoms (remission), followed by periods when the symptoms are particularly troublesome (flare-ups or relapses).
During an acute period, some people with ulcerative colitis also experience symptoms in other parts of the body, such as:
- painful and swollen joints (arthritis),
- canker sores,
- areas of painful, red and swollen skin,
- red and irritated eyes.
In severe cases, generally characterized as the need to empty the bowel 6 or more times a day, the additional symptoms may include:
- shortness of breath
- fast or irregular heartbeat,
- high temperature (fever),
- blood in the stool more and more evident.
When to see a doctor?
There is no single symptom that should prompt you to see your family doctor. However, you should see your doctor as soon as possible if you have symptoms of ulcerative colitis (see above) and have not been diagnosed with this condition.
Your doctor may order blood tests or a stool sample to help determine the cause of your symptoms. If necessary, he can refer you to some specialists for further tests.
Read also: Foods to avoid for colitis
Causes of ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis is considered one autoimmune condition. This means that the immune system, the body's defense against infections, is not functioning properly and begins to attack healthy tissues.
The most popular theory behind the causes of ulcerative colitis is that the immune system exchanges harmless bacteria within the colon for a threat, and thus begins to attack the tissues of the colon, causing it to become inflamed.
Now, it's still not clear - exactly - what causes the immune system to behave this way. However, most experts think it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Who can be affected by ulcerative colitis
The condition of ulcerative colitis can develop at any age but is most often diagnosed in people between the ages of 15 and 25. Clinical statistics also inform that this disease is generally more common in white people of European descent, especially those descended from Ashkenazi Jewish communities, and in people of color. The condition is rarer in people of Asian descent, although the reasons for this are still unclear. Both men and women appear to be equally affected by ulcerative colitis.
Treatment of ulcerative colitis
As for the cure, the treatment of ulcerative colitis it is generally aimed at relieving symptoms during an acute condition, and preventing them from returning.
In most people, this goal is achieved by taking drugs, such as:
With these drugs a treatment of acute conditions of ulcerative colitis even at home. However, the more severe inflammations caused by ulcerative colitis must be treated in the hospital.
Of course, if the medications are not effective in controlling symptoms or if the quality of life is significantly affected by the conditions caused by ulcerative colitis, the doctor will carry out a series of further evaluations with the patient, even considering a surgical intervention. to remove the colon, which extreme option.
During the surgery, the small intestine will thus be "deviated" from an opening in the abdomen (ileostomy) or can be used to create an internal pouch that is connected to the rectum (ileoanal pouch).
Complications of ulcerative colitis
Usually, ulcerative colitis can be resolved relatively easily by drug treatment. However, there are some conditions where the disease is more severe. Complications of ulcerative colitis include for example:
- primary sclerosing cholangitis, where the bile ducts inside the liver are damaged,
- an increased risk of developing bowel cancer,
- poor growth and development of children and young people.
In addition, some of the drugs used to treat ulcerative colitis can cause weakening of the bones (osteoporosis) as a side effect.
Having clarified the above, and remembered that ulcerative colitis can usually be treated in a pharmaceutical way with good results, our advice can only be to contact your doctor promptly.
In this way you will be able to share all the symptoms experienced with a specialist, and evaluate the most effective treatment path in order to find the right well-being, avoiding that the symptoms of ulcerative colitis can worsen and may affect your daily life.
We invite all interested parties to contact their doctor in a timely manner, considering that the underestimation of these symptomatic pictures could then end up aggravating the situation, resulting in increasingly invasive treatments, useful for restoring a condition of physical well-being.