Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation and sores in your intestinal tract, causing abdominal pain and diarrhea that can have a significant impact on your ability to stay active and enjoy life. Dr. Jeffrey Fenyves and Dr. Stephen Fry at Tri-Cities Gastroenterology can help you find an individualized treatment that relieves your symptoms and helps maintain disease remission. To learn more about how they can help, call one of their offices in Kingsport, Johnson City, and Elizabethton, Tennessee, or use online booking to schedule an appointment.
Ulcerative Colitis Q & A
What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory condition that affects your large intestine or colon. It’s chronic, causes ulcers in the inner lining of your colon, and often worsens over time. Although ulcerative colitis can occur at any age, it often first appears in people aged 15-25 and 55-65.
The extent of inflammation varies from person to person. You may only have inflammation in the rectum and lower part of the colon, it may extend further up into the colon, or – in the worst case – inflammation affects the entire colon.
What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis cycles through periods when you have symptoms alternating with periods of remission. During symptom flare-ups, you’ll have one or more of the following:
Diarrhea (often with blood or mucus)
Fecal incontinence and urgency
Constipation or obstipation (inability to pass any stool or gas)
Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting
Malnutrition and unintended weight loss
What are extraintestinal manifestations?
About 42% of patients with ulcerative colitis have symptoms outside their colon. These symptoms most commonly include eye irritation and inflammation, skin rashes and ulcers, and joint pain or arthritic changes.
How is ulcerative colitis treated?
Treatment for ulcerative colitis includes medications and surgery:
Some medications relieve symptoms like diarrhea and pain, while anti-inflammatory and immune-suppressing drugs can reduce your inflammation. Your doctor customizes your treatment with one or more medications according to the severity of your symptoms and the location of your ulcerative colitis.
Depending on your response to first-line medications, your doctor may recommend medications that induce remission of your symptoms and help you stay in remission such as:
You may need surgery when medications aren’t effective, or your colon shows signs of precancerous cell growth. Your doctor performs a proctocolectomy to remove your rectum and colon.
Which health complications may develop from ulcerative colitis?
When you have ulcerative colitis, your risk of colon cancer increases, so you’ll need regular colonoscopies to screen for cancer. Your doctor determines how often you’ll need screening based on the severity and location of your disease.
With regular checkups, your doctor can evaluate your health, monitor your treatment, and check for symptom changes.
Please don’t hesitate to call Tri-Cities Gastroenterology if you have questions about your health or schedule an appointment online for a checkup.