What is ulcerative colitis?
Inflammatory bowel disease is of two types. One being the a) Crohn’s disease, the other is b) Ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative colitis is that inflammatory bowel disease which causes inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract.
Unlike Crohn’s disease, where inflammation may take place anywhere in the GI tract from mouse to the anus, Ulcerative colitis is limited only to the large intestine.
Causes of Ulcerative colitis:
The proper cause of the ailment has not been determined till now. However, there are several reasons which may be summed as a cause of the disease. Some of them are as follows:
Genetic reasons i.e. inherited genes has a role to play in the occurrence of Ulcerative colitis. It is suspected that in most cases genes inherited from parents or anybody else in the family can be the reason or etiology of the ailment.
Environmental factors such as bacteria, virus or any unidentified factor in the environment often trigger an abnormal response of the immune system which results in inflammation.
Mostly ulcerative colitis is caused by a response of our own immune system towards abnormal triggers. When foreign invaders such as virus and bacterias enter our body through the foods and drinks we take, our immune system takes protective measures against these foreign invaders by causing inflammation in the concerned and respective parts of our body.
Though the exact reason of ulcerative colitis is not known, it is well established that the disease is not contagious and is also not caused by something we eat or do.
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis:
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis may vary from patient to patient depending on which part of the intestine is affected by the disease. However, some of the common symptoms of the ailment are as follows:
- Pain or discomfort in the abdomen.
- Loss of blood with stool.
- Fatigue and loss of appetite.
- Weight loss.
The following chart will give an idea about the symptoms of ulcerative colitis on the basis of severity of the disease.
Diagnosis of ulcerative colitis
Based on the severity of the disease and position where it has occurred, doctors advise patients to undergo different tests to detect the ailment properly and correctly.
Some of the tests which a doctor may recommend are as follows:
Ulcerative colitis involves loss of blood with stool which can give rise to the condition of amnesia. Doctors may suggest blood test to check cases of amnesia or to identify and deficiency of vitamins or minerals. Blood test may be of the following two types:
Fecal blood test: To detect blood in the stool.
Antibody blood test: To determine whether you have Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s disease
b) Imaging Test:
Imaging tests are done to detect Ulcerative colitis include –
1) X rays.
2) Computerized tomography (CT scan).
4) Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Besides these mentioned tests, a doctor may suggest a patient undergo some other tests too depending on the severity of the disease or the need for the particular test for diagnosis of the disease properly. Some of those tests include stool test, liver function test, Sigmoidoscopy or Urinalysis.
TREATMENT OF ULCERATIVE COLITIS
It should be noted that there is no permanent cure for ulcerative colitis. The basic goal of treatment of the disease lies on:
Types of medication used in ulcerative colitis:
Antibiotics: If the disease is accompanied by any kind of infection, antibiotics such as Metronidazole, Ciprofloxacin, etc. are used.
Aminosalicylates: These drugs are used to decrease the inflammation in the intestine and are used to treat mild ulcerative colitis.
Corticosteroids: These are drugs which are also given to reduce inflammation. It is however not advisable to take this medication for long term.
Immunomodulators: These drugs are prescribed to suppress the action of the immune system to prevent the cause of inflammation.
Finally, to conclude, ulcerative colitis is not a fatal disease if diagnosed and treated in the early stage. However, it should be kept in mind that the disease may recur again. Hence regular visit to the physician is advised to keep a check on the disease.