Ulcerative Colitis: Symptoms, Causes & Reasons - Dr. Ronak Malani

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

It is a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease that causes digestive tract inflammation. Ulcerative colitis usually affects only the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. Milder to severe forms exist. A patient with ulcerative colitis is more likely to develop colon cancer

Rectal bleeding, bloody diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, and pain are all symptoms.

People typically have symptoms intermittently for the rest of their lives because there is no cure. But the correct medical care can assist you in managing the illness.

The rectum, which is near the anus, is where the inflammation in ulcerative colitis typically begins (where poop leaves your body). A section of the colon or the entire colon may be affected by the spreading inflammation. Ulcerative proctitis is the term used to describe the inflammation that develops in the rectum and lower portion of the colon. Pancolitis is the medical term for when the entire large intestine is afflicted. Limited or distal colitis is the medical term for colonitis that only affects the left side of the colon.

The level of inflammation and the location both affect how severe UC is. The disease varies for everyone. You could have extremely mild inflammation across your entire colon or severe inflammation in the rectum (a tiny area).

You may observe a pattern of flare-ups (active disease) when your symptoms are severe if you have ulcerative colitis. You may experience minimal to no symptoms when your condition is in remission.The aim to manage the condition is to maintain remission for as long as feasible by treatment over years.

Types of Ulcerative Colitis

Doctors frequently divide ulcerative colitis into groups based on where it manifests.

  • Ulcerative proctitis:
  • Rectal bleeding may be the only symptom, and inflammation is limited to the region nearest to the anus (rectum).

  • Proctosigmoiditis:
  • Inflammation affecting the lower end of the colon, the sigmoid colon, and the rectum. Bloody diarrhoea, painful abdominal cramps, and an inability to urinate despite the urge to do so are some of the warning signs and symptoms (tenesmus).

  • Left-sided Colitis:
  • Inflammation spreads from the rectum upward through the sigmoid and descending colon in left-sided colitis. Bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain and cramping on the left side, and the need to urinate quickly are signs and symptoms.

  • Pancolitis:
  • This condition frequently involves the entire colon and can result in episodes of severe bloody diarrhoea as well as abdominal pain, exhaustion, and significant weight loss.

Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

The degree and location of the inflammation will affect the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, which might vary. Some warning signs and symptoms include:

  • Frequently bloody or pustular diarrhoea
  • Constipation and cramping
  • Back pain
  • Small amounts of blood flowing with stools are known as rectal bleeding
  • Lack of capacity to urinate despite the urgent need
  • Loss of weight
  • Fatigue/Fever
  • A child's inability to grow

Ulcerative Colitis Causes and Risk Factors

When your immune system makes a mistake, it can result in ulcerative colitis. Typically, the immune system fights against invading organisms. However, in UC, your immune system believes that the cells that line your colon, beneficial gut flora, and food are the intruders. Instead of protecting you, your white blood cells assault the lining of your colon. They lead to ulcers and inflammation.

Physicians are unsure of why people get the illness. The disease can run in families sometimes, therefore your genes may be involved.

Other Risk Factors for getting ulcerative colitis include:

  • Age: If you are older than 60 or between the ages of 15 and 30, it is most likely
  • Ethnicity: People of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage are more at risk
  • Family history: If you have a close relative who has the illness, your risk may be up to 30% higher

Although they don't cause it, stress and food might cause symptoms to worsen.

Ulcerative Colitis vs. Crohn’s Disease vs. Irritable Bowel

Some of the symptoms of other gastrointestinal conditions are similar.

In ulcerative colitis, only the lining of your large intestine is impacted by inflammation. Whereas in Crohn's disease, the entire gastrointestinal (GI) tract, or parts of it, are inflamed, from the mouth to the anus.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition affecting the large intestine. Cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhoea or constipation, or both, are signs and symptoms. IBS is a chronic condition that must be managed.

Complications of Ulcerative Colitis

  • Bleeding:
  • Anaemia might result from this

  • Osteoporosis:
  • If you take a lot of corticosteroids or have a poor diet, your bones may become brittle

  • Dehydration:
  • If your large intestine is unable to absorb enough fluid, you may need intravenous (IV) fluids

  • Inflammation:
  • Which can harm your eyes, skin, or joints

  • Fulminant colitis:
  • In the event of a severe UC episode, your colon may rupture or infection may spread throughout your body. Your belly enlarges and your intestines stop removing waste.

  • Megacolon:
  • If you have fulminant colitis, your large intestine may expand or even explode. This is a hazardous complication, and you’ll probably need surgery.

  • Liver disease:
  • You may develop scar tissue in your liver or experience inflammation of your bile ducts or liver.

  • Colon cancer:
  • If you have ulcerative colitis for a long time or if your entire large intestine is impacted, you are more likely to develop colon cancer.

At INFINITY GASTRO PLUS, you can make an appointment with our Gastro specialist who specializes in the treatment of Ulcerative Colitis. For further information CONTACT US ON +91 9978836642.

  • Dr. Ronak Malani

    Gastroenterologist & Colorectal Cancer Specialist