You can’t quite put your finger on it, but something is off about your digestive health. You always seem to feel gassy and bloated, and you have loose stools a lot more often than you should.
Could it be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? The answer could be a bit more complicated than that. If you’re having consistent digestive issues, you may have ulcerative colitis.
Did you see that and immediately wonder what is ulcerative colitis? Don’t worry, this post will teach you everything you need to know about this increasingly common digestive disorder.
What is Ulcerative Colitis?
You may have heard of IBS, but you may not have heard of its relative and often more severe relative inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is an umbrella term for a group of intestinal disorders that cause chronic inflammation in your digestive tract.
Ulcerative colitis is a form of IBD. When people have ulcerative colitis, their colon, rectum, or both parts of the body are chronically inflamed. After a while, this chronic inflammation can produce tiny ulcers to appear in the lining of the colon and rectum. Some people only have ulcers in small areas of the rectum or colon, while others have them spread throughout both parts of the body.
The inflammation causes the bowel to empty frequently so many people with this problem tend to have watery stools. Over time, ulcers can cause bleeding and can even discharge mucus and pus.
What are the Signs of Ulcerative Colitis?
Many of the signs associated with Ulcerative colitis can easily be mistaken for a bad case of indigestion. The most important factor when you’re thinking about potential signs is time.
A bad bout of digestive health could be attributed to what you ate. Weeks of digestive trouble could be a sign of something worse. If you or a loved one experiences these symptoms frequently, consider speaking with a doctor:
- Abdominal cramping or pain
- Bloody stool or stool with mucus
- Chronic diarrhea
- Weight Loss
- Frequent urges to defecate
What Causes Ulcerative Colitis?
There is no straightforward answer to this question. Ulcerative colitis can form for a variety of reasons.
Some doctors think ulcerative colitis could be genetic. It isn’t uncommon for the condition to run in certain families. It’s possible that you may have gotten the gene from your parents even if they don’t have the condition.
Other doctors think that the condition can form because of environmental factors like pollution. It’s also possible for people with other immune disorders to develop ulcerative colitis.
If your doctor suspects you have ulcerative colitis, they’ll likely do a series of blood tests and collect stool samples. In some cases, they may even request an exploratory endoscopy to look for signs of damage.
How Can You Treat Ulcerative Colitis?
A change in diet can do a lot to help with symptoms, and if you’re concerned about how much you’ll spend on treatments, this is by far the least expensive option.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition. Some people may undergo surgical procedures to remove very infected or damaged parts of their colon or rectum, but it’s possible for inflammation to return.
Luckily, there are a lot of treatment options available that can help improve quality of life and reduce the frequency of flare-ups. There are a variety of medications and supplements you can take that can improve your digestive health.
What Is Ulcerative Colitis?: A Condition You Can Manage
When you found yourself wondering “what is ulcerative colitis” a lot of things came to mind. You may be worried or even scared about how this could affect your health, but the truth is that plenty of people with this condition live long and healthy lives.
The most important thing you can do is to talk to your doctor, eat right, and treat your body well. Do you want more advice on how to live the healthiest life possible? Be sure to browse the rest of our health and fitness posts to learn more!