Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the inner lining of the large intestine, causing inflammation and ulcers. Your large intestine is the last section of your digestive tract and includes your rectum and colon. Though ulcerative colitis may affect any part of your large intestine, it most often starts in the rectum and spreads to the colon.
The inflammation occurs because of an abnormal immune system reaction. Anyone can develop ulcerative colitis, but symptoms most often appear between ages 15 and 30, or 60 and older.
What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis symptoms generally start out mild and worsen over time. Common symptoms of UC include:
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea with pus or blood
- Rectal pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Bowel urgency
- Inability to have a bowel movement despite urgency
- Weight loss
In mild cases, people may have four or fewer bowel movements a day and may or may not pass blood. In severe cases, people have six or more bloody bowel movements a day.
What types of tests diagnose ulcerative colitis?
We specialize in diagnosing and treating digestive conditions like ulcerative colitis. Before ordering any tests, we review your symptoms and medical history and performs a physical exam. We may then order various tests to confirm or rule out ulcerative colitis, such as blood work, stool testing, and colonoscopy.
What are my treatment options for ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic digestive disorder and requires ongoing medical care and management. NVG creates a personalized treatment plan for your ulcerative colitis based on the severity of your disease and symptoms. Treatment may include:
- Aminosalicylates to reduce intestinal inflammation
- Immunomodulators to minimize immune system response
- Biologics to reduce immune system response
- Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors to stop the enzymes that trigger inflammation
The goal of medical treatment for ulcerative colitis is to minimize the severity of your symptoms and put your disease in remission. However, when medical interventions fail to improve your UC symptoms, the team may recommend surgery to remove the diseased portion of your bowel.