According to Medscape, ulcerative colitis (UC) creates ulcers in the large intestine. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation says UC is caused by your immune system fighting an old infection. White blood cells assault your colon without bacteria or viruses to combat, producing pus-filled ulcers. Mucus release induces inflammation, which increases bowel movements.
3 Types Of Ulcerative Colitis
The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation lists three UC types. Ulcerative proctitis affects a portion of the rectum. Left-sided colitis affects your rectum and associated colon. Finally, severe colitis affects the whole colon. UC risk factors include: Anyone may be diagnosed at any age; however, most are 15 to 30. According to Cleveland Clinic, if a close family member has the condition, particularly if you’re Jewish, your risks rise by about 20%. High-fat diets and NSAIDs increase the risk of UC.
Doctors Who Treat Ulcerative Colitis
Cleveland Clinic recommends beginning UC treatment with your usual doctor. If more testing is needed, they’ll refer you to a gastroenterologist (GI) or colorectal surgeon for a colonoscopy. A gastroenterologist treats digestive issues. Colorectal surgeons conduct colon and rectum procedures. GIs manage UC treatment.
Other doctors will also help. A nutritionist will ensure you eat things your body can handle and obtain enough nutrients—a dermatologist for skin disorders and a rheumatologist for joint difficulties. Living with a chronic ailment is difficult; therefore, physicians suggest visiting a psychologist for depression or anxiety. A third of UC patients require colorectal surgery.
The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation advises choosing a UC specialist carefully. Check that the doctor accepts your insurance, is nearby, and has a good bedside manner.
Common Medications Used To Treat UC
First-line UC treatment is aminosalicylates. 5-ASAs reduce colon inflammation and mend the GI tract, according to the NHS. If 5-ASAs don’t help, the NHS suggests corticosteroids. These medications suppress your immune system. Long-term corticosteroid usage may limit or cease cortisol production, making it difficult to discontinue without relapsing.
When 5-ASAs and corticosteroids fail, physicians often prescribe immunomodulators, and immunosuppressants alleviate inflammation by suppressing the immune system. Despite being beneficial, several medicines are administered off-label for UC. Relief might take months.
The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation suggests using biologics if immunomodulators don’t help. Organic medicines inhibit inflammatory proteins. Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors limit immune system inflammatory signals for quick symptom alleviation.
RELATED: How To Manage Ulcerative Colitis
12 Side Effects
While all FDA-approved pharmaceuticals must offer more benefit than harm, none are without side effects.
Most prescription drugs for UC patients include headaches as a side effect, and the disease’s inflammation may induce headaches. You may need to adjust your Tylenol dose if you get frequent headaches. If the condition continues, your doctor may prescribe switching drugs.
According to Frontline Gastroenterology, several drugs produce stomachaches because they modify stomach contents. 5-ASAs, immunosuppressants, and biologics may have UC abdominal discomfort. Over 30% of UC patients experienced