Ulcerative Colitis - Health Center

Ulcerative Colitis

By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

Ulcerative Colitis: Basic Overview

Ulcerative Colitis is an IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) which is known to cause a long lasting inflammation accompanied by ulcers within the digestive tract of the person. Ulcerative Colitis is known to cause sores all along the innermost lining of the large intestine, around the colon area as well as around the rectum of the affected person. The symptoms of the disease tend to form gradually.

Ulcerative Colitis tends to cause life threatening complications over the passage of time. Though this condition has no treatment or cure, with proper medications, the symptoms tend to improve. If a patient takes proper medications, he can go into a complete remission from the disease. 

Causes of Ulcerative Colitis:

Though the exact cause of the disease is unknown, it has been suspected that diet, stress as well as lifestyle patterns play a huge part in causing the disease. An immune system malfunction is one of the major causes of this condition. The immune system of the body tries to fight off the invading infection from the virus or the bacterium, and an abnormal response from the immune system can attack the cells of the digestive tract too, leading to Ulcerative Colitis.

Genetics and Heredity also play a major role in causing Ulcerative Colitis. Patients who have a history of the disease in their family have a greater chance of contracting this disease as compared to their counterparts. 

Types of Ulcerative Colitis:

Ulcerative Colitis can be classified on the basis of the area of the colon which has been affected by the disease. The condition can vary from mild to moderate in most of the cases. However, it can affect different areas of the colon and can therefore, lead to the exhibition of severe signs and symptoms. Younger the age of the patient, more severe are the symptoms of the disease.

If a patient is observing drastic changes in his bowel patterns over the passage of time, it is recommended to see a doctor immediately regarding the condition. Also, the below mentioned signs and symptoms should not be taken lightly:

  •       Increased and ongoing pain in the abdominal region
  •       Passing of blood in your stool
  •       An ongoing diarrhoea which is unresponsive to over the counter medications
  •       A persistent fever lasting for more than two days

Though the disease is not fatal in nature, it tends to be a serious condition which can bear life threatening complications, if left untreated. 

Signs and Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis:

The major signs and symptoms of the disease tend to vary from one person to the other. The signs are greatly dependent on the severity of the inflammation as well as the areas on which the ulcers have formed within the digestive tract. On the basis of their location, the signs and symptoms of the disease are as follows:

  •       Intense Diarrhoea which is often accompanied with blood or pus
  •       Pain in the abdomen along with a cramping sensation
  •       Rectal pains
  •       Bleeding in the rectum; passing of blood along with the stools
  •       A sudden urgency to defecate
  •       Loss in weight
  •       Increased fatigue
  •       Ongoing fever
  •       In children, stunted growth can be one of the major symptoms

People generally tend to have mild to moderate symptoms for the disease. However, since the causes of the disease tend to vary greatly, there is a chance of patients going into remission over the passage of time. 

Tests and Diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis:

Once the doctor has ruled out other reasons for the symptoms that are being exhibited by the patient, tests can be done in order to diagnose the condition successfully. Some of the following tests are in practice for the diagnosis of the condition.

  1. Blood Tests: These are done in order to check the patient for any signs of anaemia. If the patient is suffering from anaemia and does not have the required number of Red Blood Cells to carry out the oxygen to the different organs and the tissues, the condition could be ruled out.
  2. Stool Sampling: Sampling of the stool is done in order to check the sample for the presence of the white blood cells. A stool test is done in order to rule out the possibility of bacterial, viral as well as parasitic infections.
  3. Colonoscopy: This test is done in order to check the colon of the person with the help of a very thin, flexible as well as light tube which has a camera attached to it. Small samples of the tissue around the colon are taken out in this test in order to check for any inflammation in the colon area.
  4. X Rays: These are done in case of severe symptoms. The doctors root for a standard X ray of the abdominal region in order to rule out the possibilities of serious complications such as perforated colon.
  5. CT Scans: A CT Scan is done of the abdominal and the pelvic area in order to check for any complications regarding the disease. A CT scan is done in order to check for the inflammation in the small intestinal area and to check if the colon has been inflamed. 
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