Dealing With Your Ulcerative Colitis

Your primary care physician suspects that the abdominal pain and diarrhea that you have a few hours after eating is ulcerative colitis. There is no cure for this type of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but it can come and go. Your doctor will offer treatment for the uncomfortable symptoms of this bowel disease. Here is what you need to know about ulcerative colitis and how it can be controlled.

The Causes and Triggers of Ulcerative Colitis

The root cause of this disease is not yet known. The wall of the large intestine and colon suddenly become irritated and inflamed. Sores may develop in the wall that bleed into your bowel. Once this condition develops, a number of items can cause a flare up of the pain, such as:

  • fatty or spicy foods
  • smoking
  • alcohol consumption
  • stress

Once the condition is triggered, you can experience a number of symptoms, including:

  • mild to severe abdominal cramps
  • diarrhea and a feeling of urgency to use the bathroom
  • blood in your stool
  • bleeding from the rectum

Treatment Options

Your doctor will offer several ways to treat the painful symptoms.

Anti-inflammatory medications - These drugs reduce the swelling in the large intestine and colon. The cramps and diarrhea go away as the inflammation goes down.

Anti-diarrhea medication - This also reduces the cramps and the feeling of urgency to get to a bathroom that are associated with frequent diarrhea.

Antibiotics - Your doctor may put you on a course of antibiotics to prevent the sores in the intestine from becoming infected.

If these medications don't give you enough relief, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure to remove the part of the intestinal wall that is inflamed.

Lifestyle changes - Your doctor may also recommend that you make some changes in your life to reduce the triggers of this painful condition. This may include:

  • a stress management program
  • a smoking cessation program
  • placing limits on your alcohol consumption
  • identifying the foods that trigger your symptoms and limiting or removing them from your diet

Monitoring the Ulcerative Colitis

As long as you have symptoms, your doctor will want to monitor the progress of the disease in your large intestine. A colonoscopy is commonly used to visualize the wall of the intestine where the inflammation occurs. The colitis also increases your risk of colon cancer, so your doctor will want to screen you for that, as well.

Should the condition go away on its own, your doctor will still want to examine you every few months. They will look for scar tissue on the intestinal wall and small tissue growths, called polyps, which are the pre-cursors to colon cancer. Ulcerative colitis is an unpredictable disease which can stop and suddenly start up again in a few months or years. Regular examinations will help your doctor detect any signs of future colon problems before painful symptoms return. To find out more, speak with a business like Choice Medical Group.