Find out more about this inflammatory bowel disease and what a diagnosis might mean for you.
Have you or a loved one just been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis? Approximately 907,000 Americans have ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation and ulcers within the lining of the colon (large intestines) and rectum. Our Wausau, WI, gastroenterologists are here to answer all of your most common questions regarding this intestinal condition.
What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
Symptoms will vary from person to person, but many people with this condition experience mild to moderate symptoms during flare-ups; however, some people with experience severe inflammation and other symptoms. Common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding and/or pain
- Changes in bowel movement frequency
- Unexpected or sudden weight loss
Keep in mind that if you haven’t been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and you are experiencing some of these symptoms that it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have this type of IBD. In fact, many gastrointestinal issues have similar symptoms, which is why it’s important to visit one of our Wausau GI specialists for a proper diagnosis.
Is ulcerative colitis the same as Crohn’s disease?
While both of these conditions are considered an inflammatory bowel disease and some symptoms may be the same, there are some differences. Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation in the lining of the colon and rectum while Crohn’s disease can produce inflammation anywhere in the digestive tract from the mouth to the rectum. Crohn’s disease may include symptoms such as mouth sores and anal fissures that do not typically occur for people with ulcerative colitis.
How is ulcerative colitis treated?
There are different medications that can effectively manage your ulcerative colitis symptoms. The two most common medications are prescription-strength anti-inflammatories and immunosuppressants. Depending on the symptoms you experience, you may also take over-the-counter pain relievers, anti-diarrheal medications, or even certain supplements.
The only way to get rid of ulcerative colitis is by removing the colon and rectum. This surgical procedure should only be considered if inflammation or ulcers are severe and cannot be controlled through medication.
GI Associates is ready to provide you with the comprehensive gastrointestinal care you need. We have offices in Wausau, Stevens Point, Woodruff, Eagle River, Rhinelander, and Antigo, WI, to serve you better. Regardless of whether you are looking for ulcerative colitis treatment or you are dealing with symptoms, call one of our offices today for an appointment.