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How Does Ulcerative Colitis Work In The Body? 

 November 7, 2023

By  Linda Rook

Ulcerative colitis in the stomach

Introduction.

You may be thinking why am I doing a blog on colitis and Crohn's,  when this is about arthritis.  Well! colitis and Crohn's  are not arthritic disease but they can be associated with arthritis in some cases. Both colitis and Crohn's disease are types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that primarily affect the gastrointestinal tract. Crohn's disease can cause arthritis or spondylosis which is a type of arthritis.

This type of arthritis is associated with inflammation in the gut and may cause symptoms like joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. It's important to note that arthritis associated with IBD is different from other types of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, which primarily affect the joints and are not directly related to bowel inflammation.

Ulcerative colitis or inflammatory bowel disease IBD, it is a chronic inflammation of the colon (large intestine) and rectum.  The symptoms are inflammation and ulcers in the inner lining of your colon and rectum. That can lead to complications.

There is another bowel disorder called Crohn’s disease which is related to ulcerative colitis UC, that can have an impact on your lives.

In this blog I shall explore the best treatment for UC. Its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and the effect on your lives.

Understanding Ulcerative Colitis.

Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation and ulcers in the innermost lining (mucosa) of the colon and rectum.

Causes of Ulcerative Colitis

The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is not fully understood, but it could involve a mixture of genetic, environmental, and immunological factors. They can include:

1.    Genetics: The element to ulcerative colitis, is that it tends to run in families. 

2.    Immune System Dysfunction: Your immune system sometimes mistakenly, attacks substances in your digestive tract, like some foods. This can cause inflammation and damage to the colon.

3.    Environmental Factors: There has been no specific environmental trigger, but there are some factors such as, diet, if you smoke you should stop, and exposure to certain infections may affect the risk of developing ulcerative colitis.

Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis.

The symptoms could include:

1.    Diarrhoea.

2.    Abdominal Pain and Cramping.

3.    Rectal Bleeding.

4.    Weight Loss.

5.    Fatigue.

6.    Urgency and Incontinence.

Diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis.

Diagnosing ulcerative colitis involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests, such as:

1.    Endoscopy: A colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy is often used to see the colon's inner lining, the specialist could also get some samples of tissue for a biopsy.

2.    Blood Tests: Blood tests can help to see the inflammation levels, and check if you are anaemic and other conditions.

3.    Imaging: You may need to go for an X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs, these can confirm the extent of inflammation, so that they can rule out certain complications.

The Best Treatments for Ulcerative Colitis?

1.     Medications

There is a drug called Amino salicylates which often is the first-line of treatment, and is for mild to moderate ulcerative colitis. They work by reducing the inflammation in the colon that helps control the symptoms.

Another one is Corticosteroids that is for moderate to severe flare-ups, corticosteroids these may be prescribed for a short period to quickly reduce the inflammation and alleviate symptoms.

You could have Immune Modulators that suppress the immune system's response, this can help to maintain remission in some cases.

The last is Biologic Therapies, these targets specific proteins in the immune system responsible for inflammation.

2.     Lifestyle Modifications

Some people found that identifying certain foods make their symptoms worse so they avoid the trigger foods. A low-residue or low-fibre diet may be helpful during flare-ups, while a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients can help. 

With my Colitis I go for ‘free from’ or 'Gluten free' foods that helps me with my symptoms.

Stress can worsen symptoms of ulcerative colitis. It would help if you did some yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises.  

Exercise is another one, regular physical activity can help reduce inflammation, and relieve stress.  But you need to consult with your healthcare provider so that they can show you the level of exercise based on your condition.

3.      Surgery

You may have surgery, this happens when complications such as severe bleeding, perforation, or cancer risk may be present. 

4.     Monitoring and Maintenance.

Ulcerative colitis can become a chronic condition, that may require continued care and monitoring. You should go to your regular check-ups, with a gastroenterologist, as they can track your disease and adjust your treatment if needed.

Living with Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease: 

Living with ulcerative colitis UC or Crohn’s disease CD can be challenging, this next list is how you can cope living with the disease every day 24/7.

1.     Managing Symptoms:

•       Flare-Ups: During a flare up you may experience abdominal pain, diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, fatigue, and other symptoms that can interrupt your daily routine.

•       Chronic Fatigue: The inflammation and nutrient issues could lead to a chronic fatigue. When this happens it is difficult to keep a consistent level of energy.

2.     Dietary Restrictions:

•       Trigger Foods: There are certain foods that may cause the inflammation worse, that you should avoid altogether. The best diet to go for is an anti-inflammatory foods.

•       Nutritional Deficiencies: you may become nutrient deficiency, which requires careful dietary planning and sometimes dietary supplementation.

3.     Medication Management:

•       Medication Routines: Managing your disease could sometimes require prescribed medication, which can be costly and may have side effects.

With my colitis I take one tablet ½ to one hour before my main meal, on top of this I have to take another tablet ½ hour before each meal.

Not at all nice if you go out for a meal.

Medication.

•       Regular Monitoring: It would be best to keep all your appointments, as they can adjustments and monitor .

4.     Emotional and Psychological Impact:

      Stress and Anxiety: The unpredictability of colitis or Crohn's can cause stress and anxiety.

•       Social Isolation: When coping with the need for frequent bathroom visits, and dietary restrictions it can lead to social isolation and impact one's social life.

Effective Strategies for Coping.

There are some strategies that you can do to cope with this horrible disease that can help you in your every day life.  they include:

Exercises
  • Always follow your medical adviser.
  • Regular consultation with your healthcare providers.
  • Consult with a registered dietitian.
  • Do some meditation and relaxation methods to keep down the stress and anxiety.
  • Go to support groups or seek therapy for emotional support.
  • Regular exercises can also help improve overall health.
  • Tell your employers about your condition and see if you can do flexible work.
  • Learn about your condition and raise awareness about IBD, and IBS.

Colitis.

Colitis mainly is inflammation in the colon, which is your large intestine and rectum.  The disease starts in the rectum and extends throughout the colon, and affecting the inner lining (mucosa) of the intestinal wall.

The symptoms of colitis are abdominal pain, frequent diarrhoea, urgency to have a bowel movement and may have rectal bleeding.  The symptoms mainly are in the lower part of the digestive tract.

Complications of colitis could include ulcerations, (narrowing of the colon), and could have a risk of colorectal cancer, especially if your diagnosis is an extensive disease.

Crohn’s Disease.

On the other hand, Crohn’s disease attacks the gastrointestinal tract that could be from your mouth all the way down to your anus.  It can often involve what is called ‘skip pattern’ this is where there is healthy parts of the digestive tract between the inflamed areas. 

The inflammation can go through all layers of the intestinal wall which can lead to complications such as abnormal connections between the intestines and other organs, and abscesses or boils, sores.

Causes and Risk Factors.

While the exact causes of both colitis and Crohn's disease needs more research, it is believed to have risk factors of genetics, that run-in families, also environmental factors, such as diet and exposure to certain infections, can also contribute to the development of these conditions.

genetics

Treatment.

The treatment of colitis and Crohn's disease often involves a combination of medications to reduce inflammation, and manage your symptoms, also to prevent complications.

Common medication includes amino salicylates, corticosteroids, immunomodulators, and biologics. Lifestyle modifications, are dietary changes, and stress management techniques are crucial in managing these conditions.

In severe cases or when complications arise, surgical interventions, such as colectomies or bowel resections, may be necessary.

Conclusion.

Colitis and Crohn's disease are two distinct inflammatory bowel diseases, each with its unique characteristics. If you have any of the above symptoms, you should see your doctor where they can get an accurate diagnosis, and start treating the symptom early.  With the appropriate care and support, you can live with colitis or Crohn's disease, and lead fulfilling lives and effectively manage your conditions.

Living with these diseases can be challenging, but it's important to remember, that with the correct strategies and support, you can lead a fulfilling life. Effective way to help your disease are medication, try getting 'Free From' or 'Gluten Free' foods, and try and keep your stress level down. 


I hope this article has helped you. Please subscribe to my website, and I will keep you updated on new blogs. Also, if you need to know anything about arthritis, please go to my contact page and leave a message, and I will get back to you.

In the meantime, if this post is informative, I’d be very grateful if you’d help your friends or family if they have a similar condition to tell them. So please share it on Twitter or Facebook or send them an email.

Also check out my FREE PDF for more information on this article.

I am not a medical professional, and this blog is for information only. If you have any worries, you should consult your doctor.

I hope this blog has helped.

https://foodwitharthitis.com

More Information.

https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/what-is-ibd


Linda Rook

Linda is now retired and has suffered from Osteoarthritis for about 40+ years.  She struggled with her weight until she found the correct one that also helped with her arthritic pain.  Linda was in terrible pain until the physician thought her right hip needed replacement. 


Now Linda has an artificial right hip, which has left her with the left leg shorter than the right.  Therefore, her spine is now wonky, and has arthritis of the lower back, also it seems to be going all over the body, her pain is now in the knees, elbow, wrist, fingers and both hips.


Linda now spends her days writing information to help others with the same conditions, so they do not suffer like Linda.


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