Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disorder that causes inflammation in the lining of the colon. This leads to subsequent ulcers and sores. Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, roughly one in every 200 people in the United States suffers from some type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). If the colon is irritated for a long period of time, it can increase the risk of developing colon cancer. In the majority of cases, it occurs in people between the ages of 15 and 30.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), people who have a first-degree relative with IBD are more likely than the general population to develop ulcerative colitis.
Symptoms and treatment of Ulcerative colitis
Symptoms of the disorder vary from person to person. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the most common signs include loose stool/diarrhea, blood or pus in stool, frequent and urgent bowel movements, nausea, decreased appetite, abdominal cramping and fatigue.
At this point in time, there is no cure for ulcerative colitis. However, treatment options can help extend the time in between flare-ups. For some, symptoms may disappear for months or even years. According to the NIH, a common treatment is to make dietary changes, like eating smaller portions, avoiding carbonated drinks, eating bland foods, and steering clear of foods high in fiber. People with ulcerative colitis may also opt for medications to reduce inflammation or suppress the immune system.
A proctocolectomy is a surgery where the rectum and part of the colon are removed. This is considered a last-resort option that’s introduced when medications fail to control the condition. The NIH reports that about 10 to 40 percent of people with ulcerative colitis will eventually undergo this procedure. Additional follow-up procedures are necessary following a proctocolectomy.
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