Colitis Ulcerosa Symptoms and Treatment

Colitis ulcerosa is the inflammation of the colon or the large intestine. This condition causes ulcers in the lining of the rectum and the colon. Due to the inflammation, the cells which line the colon in normal conditions are killed. These form ulcers which gradually bleed and form pus. Due to this inflammation of the colon, it is emptied frequently which results in diarrhea. This condition can sometimes be confused with ‘irritable bowel syndrome’.

Colitis ulcerosa is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It can occur at any age but is most commonly seen between the ages of 15 to 30.It occurs less frequently between the age group of 50 to 70. This inflammatory condition affects men and women equally. The exact cause of colitis ulcerosa is not known, it is believed to be multifactorial and polygenic.

Symptoms:

1) Fatigue

2) Anemia

3) Skin lesions

4) Loss of appetite

5) Weight loss

6) Growth failure in children

7) Rectal bleeding

8) Loss of nutrients and body fluids

9) Fever

10) Bloody diarrhea

11) Severe abdominal cramps

Most of the people who suffer from colitis ulcerosa show mild form of the inflammation. In some conditions it may show symptoms such as liver disease, inflammation of the eye, osteoporosis.

The cause of colitis ulcerosa is still largely unknown. Many scientists believe that the immune system of the body shows an abnormal reaction with the bacteria in the digestive tract.

Diagnosis:

The diagnosis of colitis ulcerosa starts with basic physical examination and history.

A blood test is generally done to check anemia. Also if the white blood cell count is higher than normal, it shows the presence of an inflammation somewhere in the body.

Stool examination is also done. The white cell count can also be studied by stool examination. Abnormal bleeding can be detected from the stool sample or any kind of infection in the colon caused by the bacteria, parasite or a virus can be studied.

A colonoscopy or a sigmoidoscopy can diagnose colitis ulcerosa accurately. In both the examination the doctor inserts an endoscope which is a long flexible tube which is equipped with a light and a camera. The device is then attached to a computer and a TV monitor. The endoscope is entered through the anus and the doctor can see the inside of the anus and the rectum. Through this examination, it is possible to see any kind of inflammation, bleeding or the presence of any ulcer on the colon wall. A biopsy may sometimes be needed during this examination.

 

Treatment:

-Drugs that control inflammation can be given such as aminosalicylates, corticosteroids

-Immunomodulators can be given which reduce inflammation by affecting the immune system.

-Other drugs may be given to control pain, infection and diarrhea.

-In severe cases hospitalization may be required. This is done in cases where there is severe bleeding or diarrhea which causes dehydration and results in weakness.

 

In about 20 to 40 % cases of ulcerative colitis the affected individual has to get his colon removed due to severe bleeding or illness.

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