Ulcerative Colitis Treatment in Sterling, VA
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is one branch of several types of digestive disorders known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD ). Ulcerative colitis affects only the large intestine and causes the lining to become inflamed and irritated—creating ulcers that produce mucus, pus and persistent diarrhea.
The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America estimates that about 700,000 men and women have UC today. It is most often diagnosed in younger adults and teens—between the ages of about 15 and 30 and occurs equally as often in men and women. It is more common among white people with European heritage and with the Jewish population.
Learn more about ulcerative colitis today: call (703) 822-5003 or contact Dr. Lynese Lawson online.
Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms
Half of all UC patients will have only mild symptoms. You should see a doctor if you have any of the following:
- Looser and more urgent bowel movements
- Persistent diarrhea with abdominal pain or bloody stool
- Abdominal pain and cramps
Along with these symptoms, you may not feel hungry and may lose weight. It's normal to feel chronic fatigued (very tired) and be low on energy too.
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis tend to come and go over time. You may not have symptoms for weeks, months or even years in some cases before it returns.
Ulcerative Colitis Causes
The cause of ulcerative colitis is complicated, and researchers still aren't completely sure what makes UC occur. However, they believe that three main factors play a role:
- An overactive immune system response
- Environmental factors
Researchers believe that when a trigger turns “on” an increased immune response in the colon, patients with inflammatory bowel disease cannot turn the response off. This results in damage to the lining of the colon and creates symptoms of UC.
Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosis
To diagnose ulcerative colitis, your provider will likely start by gathering your medical history and information about your lifestyle. After this, a physical examination occurs.
From there, you will likely require several tests. These include blood work and a stool sample for testing—to make sure you don't have a bacteria, parasite or viral infection that's causing your diarrhea.
From there, you may need an outpatient procedure called an endoscopy, which is sometimes known as a colonoscopy. Endoscopy is a painless test that uses a light and camera to examine the inside of the colon. Your provider may also take samples of tissue from your colon for a biopsy. Biopsies allow your healthcare team to look more closely at tissue under a microscope to identify disease.
Ulcerative Colitis Treatment
Possible ulcerative colitis treatments include:
- A variety of medications, including steroidal medicine and anti-inflammatories. These medications work to mitigate or eliminate the symptoms of UC.
- Nutritional counseling; diet is important for patients with ulcerative colitis. Living with diarrhea can make it hard for your body to absorb nutrients and water to keep you healthy so do your best to eat a balanced diet.
- Dietary recommendations; your provider may recommend that you avoid certain foods—like dairy—if you are lactose intolerant. UC is not caused by the foods you eat, but once you have the disease, specific ones may aggravate your symptoms.
- Surgery is a final option for a smaller number of people with ulcerative colitis. If diet and medication changes don't work, removing the colon will cure ulcerative colitis. This means you may need to wear a pouch on the outside of your abdomen to catch waste products, but new surgical approaches are also available to reattach portions of the small bowel to the anus so you can use the bathroom normally.
Request more information on ulcerative colitis treatment today: call (703) 822-5003 or contact Dr. Lynese Lawson online.
Proactive Wellness Center
Address8229 Boone Blvd
Vienna, VA 22182
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm