Ulcerative colitis is a challenging condition to live with, but with treatment, you can manage your symptoms and lead a full life. At Arlington Gastroenterology Services, board-certified Hamid Kamran, MD, FACG, is available to address your concerns about ulcerative colitis and to help you manage flare-ups. Schedule an appointment at the office in Arlington, Texas, online or over the phone.
Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease that affects your large intestine, also known as the colon. When you have the disease, your colon becomes inflamed, causing the development of ulcers, small sores that produce pus and mucus. The inflammation and sores can cause symptoms including:
These symptoms come and go in cycles. You experience flare-ups that last for days or weeks, then enter remission for months or even years. It’s often unpredictable not just when your symptoms will flare up, but how severe they’ll be.
The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown. Factors like diet and stress can make your symptoms worse, but they don’t cause the disease to develop. The underlying action of the disease is that your immune system doesn’t regulate itself properly, leading to inflammation when there’s no virus or bacteria to fight off.
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are both forms of inflammatory bowel disease. Though they cause similar symptoms, and often develop in teens and young adults, there are some key differences.
Ulcerative colitis is limited to your colon, while Crohn’s disease can affect you anywhere along your digestive tract, though it most often affects your small intestine. Further, ulcerative colitis affects only the innermost layer of your colon, while Crohn’s can affect all the layers of your bowel walls.
Also, in Crohn’s, there are healthy portions of intestine between inflamed portions, while ulcerative colitis causes continuous inflammation.
Though ulcerative colitis isn’t curable, it’s possible to manage the symptoms through medication and lifestyle changes.
Several types of medications can help with ulcerative colitis. Though each person’s treatment is different, Dr. Kamran usually prescribes medication to help with inflammation and to reduce your immune system response. You may also benefit from medication to target specific symptoms, including pain relievers and anti-diarrhea medication.
It’s also important to manage your triggers. This won’t eliminate your symptoms, but it can reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups. Trigger management includes staying hydrated, avoiding foods that can worsen symptoms, such as high-fiber foods, spicy foods, and dairy products, and controlling stress.
To get help managing ulcerative colitis, schedule an appointment at Arlington Gastroenterology Services online or over the phone.