Ulcerative Colitis in Little Rock, AR
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What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is an individual part of a larger set of conditions known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The condition causes painful swelling and ulcerations inside one's intestinal tract, most often the colon. Ulcerative colitis is different from Crohn's disease (the other form of IBD) because it is limited to one's colon. Crohn's disease, on the other hand, is most commonly experienced at the end of the small bowel and beginning of the colon but can potentially affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract anywhere from the anus to the mouth. Also, ulcerative colitis only involves the colon's inner lining, while Crohn’s disease could impact the entirety of the intestinal wall.
People who have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis many times experience uncomfortable GI manifestations that create problems in their daily lives. At GastroArkansas, our board-certified gastroenterologists routinely diagnose and treat ulcerative colitis, and work closely with individuals to help provide a reprieve from the symptoms it causes. If you need help with ulcerative colitis in Little Rock, AR, please contact our practice today.
Are there different kinds of ulcerative colitis?
There are a few unique varieties of ulcerative colitis, that are usually related to location:
Ulcerative proctitis: The swelling of an individual's colon is isolated to one's rectum and tends to be the least severe variety of ulcerative colitis. A common sign of the presence of ulcerative proctitis is rectal bleeding.
Left-sided colitis: Inflammation is more dispersed through more of the colon and can impact more than the rectum but is restrained to all or part of the sigmoid and descending colon. It usually presents with troubling symptoms, some of which could include diarrhea containing blood and unplanned weight loss.
Pancolitis: This type of ulcerative colitis is also known as extensive colitis and can impact the entirety of the colon. Symptoms could include serious bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, and tiredness.
Acute severe ulcerative colitis: This is a more unusual type of ulcerative colitis that affects the entirety of the colon. Its symptoms might include serious pain and the loss of ability to consume food. This condition usually demands hospitalization and holds an increased chance of surgery.
What is the cause of ulcerative colitis?
The exact reason for the development of ulcerative colitis is still a mystery. However, we know some specific variables which appear to raise the chance of the presentation of ulcerative colitis and its' related challenges.
- Genetics: A person could inherit genetic material from their parents which elevates one's likelihood of developing ulcerative colitis.
- Immune system: It is presumed that internal bacteria or viruses could initiate the occurrence of ulcerative colitis. Anytime a virus or bacteria becomes present in your digestive tract, your body activates your immune system to defend against the virus or bacteria. When this happens, the body directs white blood cells to the colon, in which case those cells then attack non-problematic cells and tissue. The end result of this is that your colon, or large intestine, finds itself inflamed.
What are the risk factors for ulcerative colitis?
A portion of the complicating factors associated with having ulcerative colitis include:
- Family history: If a family member lives with ulcerative colitis, you have an increased risk of suffering from the disease.
- Ethnicity or race: People of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and Caucasians appear to be at an elevated likelihood of developing ulcerative colitis, but the condition may impact any race.
- Age: Ulcerative colitis often develops prior to 30 years of age.
What are some common symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
Most symptoms related to ulcerative colitis develop slowly and range from mild to severe. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis commonly include:
Pain in the rectum
Blood in the stool
Bloody Diarrhea with pus
Pain or drainage near or around the anus
Pain in the abdomen
Sores in the mouth
Loss of normal menstrual cycle
Sudden weight loss
If you ever see blood in your stool, we urge you to contact your physician or a specialist in Little Rock, AR without delay. A gastroenterologist should be seen anytime you become aware of any of the aforementioned symptoms or a combination of symptoms on a regular basis. The board-certified gastroenterologists at GastroArkansas offer skilled care for ulcerative colitis and can help treat and manage these concerns.
How do you treat ulcerative colitis?
The ultimate intentions of ulcerative colitis treatments at GastroArkansas are to manage the swelling that instigates the symptoms and subsequently enter into remission of the condition. Ongoing treatment includes screening for cancer, as having ulcerative colitis positions you at an elevated risk for a diagnosis of colon cancer. The main divisions of ulcerative colitis treatments are listed below:
Antibiotics: Antibiotics may help eliminate bacteria connected with causing the abnormal immune system response that leads to inflammation. This is not a primary form of treatment but might be used in collaboration with other therapies.
Anti-inflammatory drugs: Anti-inflammatory medicines used to manage ulcerative colitis are corticosteroids and oral 5-aminosalicylates. Corticosteroids help decrease swelling in your body and may be administered in conjunction with immune system suppressants. Oral 5-aminosalicylates can also work to reduce swelling in the body.
Additional supplements and medications might be recommended to help ulcerative colitis difficulties. These could include:
- Iron supplementation
- Calcium and vitamin D supplements
- Vitamin B-12 shots
Long-term anti-inflammatory therapies: These therapies address our body’s unusual immune response to bacteria and viruses. The immunosuppressant meds your Little Rock, AR gastroenterologist might prescribe include:
Diet and Nutrition: Your GI provider may recommend a special food plan to help relieve symptoms and aid in inducing remission.
Surgery: In serious situations, surgical intervention might be required to remove a piece of, or the entirety of, the rectum or colon.
Ulcerative Colitis FAQs
Is there a cure for ulcerative colitis?
At this time, no cure has been identified for ulcerative colitis. Medications can control the condition and improve its symptoms but cannot resolve it. You may be able to reach and remain in disease remission with medication therapy.
Can diet cause ulcerative colitis?
A connection between diet and the precise cause of ulcerative colitis has not been detected. However, certain dietary factors have been associated with a greater risk of developing the disease. Such factors often include foods high in refined carbs, fats, and sugar and diets insufficient in fruits, veggies, and fiber.
Who can diagnose and treat ulcerative colitis?
Your symptoms may cause you to consult your primary care practitioner (PCP). However, if your doctor suspects ulcerative colitis, they may refer you to a gastrointestinal specialist, like those at GastroArkansas. Partnering with a team that focuses on the digestive system can benefit your health.
Will anything help the condition stay in remission?
You will likely strive to remain symptom-free if your ulcerative colitis reaches remission. Factors to remember during remission include:
- Medications: For fever or pain, you may be advised to take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) rather than an NSAID (such as Motrin® or Advil®) since acetaminophen is less likely to exacerbate symptoms. Speak with your physician to learn more.
- Medication change: Please inform our GI team if your current medication seems to trigger ulcerative colitis symptoms. We may be able to swap it out for one less likely to cause a flare-up.
- Stress: Stress can lead to a flare-up. Stress management, regular exercise, and quality sleep might minimize your chances of further symptoms.
How to find help for ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis has the ability to impact your overarching enjoyment of life and digestive health. With specialized treatment, however, you can take charge of the situation and improve your quality of life. No matter if you are in the midst of the beginning symptoms or controlling ulcerative colitis regression post remission, the GI specialists at GastroArkansas can provide you with individualized care choices to help you find a reprieve. To consult a practitioner who offers care for ulcerative colitis in Little Rock, AR, call our team as soon as possible.
Pretty much on time.
Very knowledgeable, kind, and caring - excellent doctor.
Dr Meniere is such a wonderful doctor. He has a great sense of humor and immediately makes you feel at ease. He is very compassionate, professional and thorough. You cannot ask for a better doctor!
Overall good experience
Very pleasant doctor explained everything very thoroughly. Add bonus appointment was on time.