Digestive Disease Specialists
Gastroenterology Practice located in Moline, IL & Davenport, IA
Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that requires long-term medical management. The team of gastroenterologists at Digestive Disease Specialists with offices in Moline, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa, evaluate symptoms of ulcerative colitis and help you minimize flare-ups characterized by abdominal and rectal pain, diarrhea, and fecal incontinence. Contact one of the offices today or use the online tool to book your appointment.
Ulcerative Colitis Q&A
What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) causing inflammation and ulceration in your rectum and colon.
The disorder is incurable and chronic. You go through periods of remission, which can last quite long, during which you live a full, active life. Even when symptoms flare up, support and care from the team at Digestive Disease Specialists can help you manage and avoid complications.
What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis symptoms can be quite unpleasant and disabling. You might experience:
- Rectal bleeding
- Blood and pus in your stools
- Frequent bowel movements or chronic diarrhea
- Feeling like you haven't emptied your bowel
- Fecal urgency (needing to move your bowels with little warning) or incontinence
- Severe straining during bowel movements
- Joint pain
- Rectal pain after passing stools
During a flare-up of ulcerative colitis, you may visit the toilet multiple times per day. This can interfere with work and daily activities because you feel you can’t be too far from home. The rectal pain can also be so severe it makes sitting down difficult.
How do you treat ulcerative colitis?
The providers at Digestive Disease Specialists recommend certain prescription medications to control inflammation and symptoms that occur during a flare-up of ulcerative colitis. A good medical plan can also keep you from needing surgery to help mitigate ulcerative colitis symptoms.
Your provider considers the severity of your symptoms and your general health when putting together your treatment plan.
Lifestyle changes can also help you ease symptoms of ulcerative colitis. You might find that reducing your intake of high-fiber and high-fat foods improve your symptoms. Finding ways to manage stress can also help. While stress isn’t a cause of ulcerative colitis, it can aggravate your symptoms and make you feel worse.
In severe cases of ulcerative colitis, you may need surgery to remove the colon and the lining of your rectum. Patients need to wear an ostomy bag to remove body waste in rare cases.
What types of medications treat ulcerative colitis?
Medication options for ulcerative colitis include:
One of the safest medications for ulcerative colitis are aminosalicylic acid (ASA) medications like mesalamine and other prescription anti-inflammatories. These options are suitable for long-term use and may be taken orally and/or rectally.
If 5-ASA compounds fail to ease your symptoms, a dose of powerful corticosteroids may be advised. These anti-inflammatories are powerful but do have the risk of causing adverse reactions. Corticosteroids are a short-term solution for severe symptoms.
Many ulcerative colitis symptoms are caused by dysfunction in your immune system. Immunosuppressants help reduce inflammation by easing your immune system responses. Immunosuppressants can be taken for a more extended period than corticosteroids.
Biologic drugs use synthetic antibodies to stop specific proteins in your body from causing inflammation. This newer form of treatment has proven quite successful for many patients.
If you need help managing ulcerative colitis, call Digestive Disease Specialists today or reach out online to set up an appointment.
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