Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects as many as 700,000 Americans. The condition is known to cause ulcers and inflammation in the digestive tract. The part of the digestive tract that is affected in the innermost lining of the colon and rectum. The condition can lead to a debilitating lifestyle and may even be life-threatening. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for ulcerative colitis. However, there are treatment options that can relieve symptoms and allow for long-term remission.
Types of Ulcerative Colitis
· Ulcerative proctitis: affects only the rectum
· Proctosigmoiditis: affects the rectum and lower segment of the colon, or the sigmoid colon
· Left-sided colitis: affects the rectum, sigmoid colon, and descending colon
· Pan-ulcerative or total colitis: affects the entire large intestine
Risk factors for ulcerative colitis
· Age. Ulcerative colitis usually begins before the age of 30. But it can occur at any age. Some people may not develop the disease until after age 60.
· Race or ethnicity. Whites have the highest risk of the disease, but it can occur in any race. Ashkenazi Jewish descent, your risk is even higher.
· Family history. You have a higher risk if you have a close relative, such as a parent, sibling or child, with the disease.
The symptoms of ulcerative colitis depend on which part of the colon is inflamed and may include:
· Diarrhea, often with blood or pus
· Abdominal pain and cramping
· Rectal pain
· Rectal bleeding
· Urgency to defecate
· Inability to defecate despite urgency
· Weight loss
· In children, failure to grow
Treatment. The goals of treatment for ulcerative colitis are treating acute attacks, inducing remission, and prolonging disease remissions. This can be done with drug therapy, surgery, alternative therapies, and home remedies.