Ulcerative Colitis in Illinois
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What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is a part of a larger set of conditions called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This condition causes irritating inflammation and ulcerations inside the intestinal system, most often the large intestine. Ulcerative colitis is distinct from Crohn's disease (the other form of IBD), as it is limited to one's colon. Crohn's disease, on the other hand, is usually experienced near the end of the small bowel and beginning of the colon but can potentially involve any portion of the gastrointestinal system from the anus to the mouth. Also, ulcerative colitis involves only the colon's inner lining, whereas Crohn’s disease may impact the whole of the bowel wall.
People who have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis are often forced to bear painful gastrointestinal symptoms which interfere with their daily lives. At GI Alliance of Illinois, our board-certified providers routinely identify and treat ulcerative colitis, while also creating working relationships with patients to assist and provide relief from the symptoms it causes. If you are seeking help for ulcerative colitis in Chicago, IL locations to Peoria, IL, and Normal, IL we implore you to reach out to your nearest location to request a consultation.
Are there multiple kinds of ulcerative colitis?
There are a few different varieties of ulcerative colitis, which are typically organized by anatomy:
Ulcerative proctitis: The inflammation of an individual's colon is isolated to a person's rectum and is commonly the mildest variety of ulcerative colitis. A common sign of ulcerative proctitis is rectal bleeding.
Left-sided colitis: Swelling is more dispersed throughout the colon and could impact more than the rectum but is confined to all or a portion of the sigmoid and descending colon. It usually causes concerning symptoms, including diarrhea containing blood and unplanned loss of weight.
Pancolitis: This type of ulcerative colitis is also known as extensive colitis and might affect the whole of the colon. Symptoms could include serious bloody diarrhea, severe pain in the abdomen, and tiredness.
Acute severe ulcerative colitis: This is a more unusual form of ulcerative colitis which affects the entire colon. Its symptoms include serious pain and the loss of ability to consume food. The condition usually requires hospitalization and carries a much greater likelihood of surgery.
What causes ulcerative colitis?
The exact reason for the development of ulcerative colitis is still a mystery. However, there are certain factors that consistently predict the manifestation of ulcerative colitis and its challenges.
- Genetics: One may inherit genetic material from their parent or parents that elevates their chance of being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.
- Immune system: It is commonly accepted that viruses or internal bacteria may initiate the occurrence of ulcerative colitis. Anytime bacteria or a virus enters your digestive tract, the body calls upon your immune system to defend against the virus or bacteria. When this takes place, the body releases white blood cells to the colon in which case they end up attacking healthy cells and tissue. Due to this your colon or large intestine becomes inflamed.
Are there risk factors for ulcerative colitis?
A portion of the complicating factors related to suffering from ulcerative colitis may include:
- Age: Ulcerative colitis typically develops before 30 years of age.
- Race or ethnicity: People of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and Caucasians are at an elevated chance of developing ulcerative colitis, but it can affect any race.
- Family history: If a member of your family lives with ulcerative colitis, you have an elevated likelihood of suffering from this disease.
What are some common symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
Many symptoms frequently experienced with ulcerative colitis come to appear slowly, and range from subtle to overwhelming. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis often include:
- Bloody stool
- Rectal pain
- Bloody diarrhea with pus
- Drainage or pain near or around the anus
- Mouth sores
- Sudden weight loss
- Loss of normal menstrual cycle
- Cramps in the stomach
- Pain in the abdomen
In the event you ever see bloody stool, you should reach out to your gastroenterology specialist in Illinois. You should see a gastroenterologist anytime you experience any of the above symptoms or any combination of symptoms on a regular basis. Our providers at GI Alliance of Illinois can provide skilled treatment for ulcerative colitis and can help treat and manage these concerns.
How is ulcerative colitis treated?
The main intentions of ulcerative colitis treatments at GI Alliance of Illinois are to control the inflammation that instigates your symptoms and subsequently enter into remission of the disease. It's important that you continue to receive cancer screenings after this diagnosis, as having ulcerative colitis puts you at greater risk for developing colon cancer. The primary categories of ulcerative colitis treatments are as follows:
Antibiotics: Antibiotics may assist in the destruction of bacteria connected with causing the excessive immune system response of swelling. These are not a mainstay of treatment but may be utilized in collaboration with additional treatments.
Anti-inflammatory drugs: Anti-inflammatory medications used to treat ulcerative colitis are oral 5-aminosalicylates and corticosteroids. Corticosteroids assist in the reduction of inflammation in your body and may be recommended in conjunction with immune system suppressants. Oral 5-aminosalicylates are also useful in the reduction of swelling in the body.
Additional medications and supplements could be recommended to control and manage ulcerative colitis symptoms. These might include:
- Vitamin D and calcium supplementation
- Iron supplementation
- Vitamin B-12 shots
Long-term anti-inflammatory therapies: This type of therapy addresses the body’s unusual immune response to viruses and bacteria. The immunosuppressant meds your Illinois provider might prescribe include:
Diet and Nutrition: Your gastrointestinal practitioner may suggest a specific food plan to help relieve symptoms and induce remission.
Surgery: In extreme cases, surgical intervention may be required to take out a piece of, or the entirety of, the colon or rectum.
Ulcerative Colitis FAQs
Is ulcerative colitis a curable condition?
Currently, no cure exists for ulcerative colitis. Medication interventions may be used to manage the condition and any symptoms but do not provide a cure. They can, however, help you reach and remain in remission.
Does diet cause ulcerative colitis?
A link between food and the cause of this condition has not been identified. Certain dietary choices may elevate the risk of getting ulcerative colitis, however. These include foods low in fiber, fruits, and veggies and high in sugar, fats, and refined carbs.
Who can diagnose ulcerative colitis?
Your symptoms will likely lead you to consult your family doctor. If your physician suspects you may have ulcerative colitis, they might suggest you see a GI doctor, like those at GI Alliance of Illinois. It is helpful to visit a provider who focuses on digestive health and wellness.
Will anything help me stay in remission?
In the event you have reached remission for ulcerative colitis, you likely wish to remain symptom-free. Factors to remember during remission are:
- Medication change: If you notice any of your medications seem to trigger symptoms, please inform our office. We could potentially change your medication to something less likely to lead to a flare-up.
- Medications: Should you experience pain or fever, you may be advised to use acetaminophen like Tylenol® rather than NSAIDs such as Advil® or Motrin®. Acetaminophen is less likely to trigger symptoms. Consult your healthcare provider for more information.
- Your stress level: Stress could cause your symptoms to resurface. Exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and managing your stress might minimize your chances of symptom recurrence.
Get help for ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis has the ability to impact your general enjoyment of life and digestive health. With experienced treatment, however, you can take charge of the condition and better your quality of life. Whether you are suffering from the beginning symptoms or dealing with ulcerative colitis issues after remission, the GI specialists at GI Alliance of Illinois can provide you with personalized treatment options to help you find relief. To consult a provider who offers treatment for ulcerative colitis in Illinois, please request a consultation at your nearest location today.
For more than 30 years, Dr. Vainder has managed my ulcerative colitis with his sage judgment and careful attention. Thank you!!!
20 plus years same Doc. Straight forward, explains technical jargon in a easily understandable way. Ileostomy/ulcerative colitis patient
Dr.Ballard really took the time to explain to me about the severity of my ulcerative colitis as well as taking the time out to suggest the best treatment options..I highly recommend him for gastrointestinal services.
Dr.Ballard really took the time to explain to me about the severity of my ulcerative colitis, as well as taking the time out to suggest the best treatment options..I highly recommend him for gastrointestinal care.