Stomach Pain: What is Ulcerative Colitis
Call it social pressure or being rude but a lot of time we tend to keep our potty problems to ourselves, we are uncomfortable discussing it and so the problems continues to grow deep within...literally.
Ulcerative Colitis is one such condition. Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. This inflammation destroys the cells that line the colon wall. As a result sores and ulcers form in the colon and this can lead to mild- severe discomforts and problems in a patient.
Crohn's disease is a related condition. According to ccfa.org,“It’s important to understand the difference between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract, but ulcerative colitis affects only the colon. Additionally, while Crohn’s disease can affect all layers of the bowel wall, ulcerative colitis only affects the lining of the colon.”
The cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown. People with this condition have problems with the immune system, but it is not clear whether immune problems cause this illness. Although stress and certain foods can trigger symptoms, they do not cause ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative colitis may affect any age group, although there are peaks at ages 15 - 30 and then again at ages 50 - 70.
The disease can begin the rectal area, and may involve the entire large intestine over time. It may also start in the rectum and other parts of the large intestine at the same time.
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis
• Abdominal pain and cramping
• Mucus discharge
• Blood and pus in the stools
• Diarrhoea, from only a few episodes to very often
• Tenesmus (rectal pain)
• Weight loss
Diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis
• Stool tests.
• Blood tests
*Inputs: Dr. Sunit K Shukla, Consultant in Gastroenterology,MD, DM, Sevenhills Hospital, Mumbai
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images