Ulcerative colitis is a condition that develops over time, causing inflammation and ulcers (sores) in the digestive tract. It hits the innermost lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum; sometimes, it leads to life-threatening complications. Treatment is done to lessen the signs of the disease and bring about long-term relief.
Signs may differ on the severity of the infection and where it happens with mild to moderate symptoms like diarrhea with blood or pus, rectal pain and bleeding with passing a small amount of blood with stool.
The other signs are abdominal pain and cramping, weight loss, fatigue, fever, the urgency to pass, and inability to defecate despite the need. In children, it leads to failure to grow.
• Ulcerative proctitis is inflammation near the anus (rectum), sometimes causing rectal bleeding.
• Proctosigmoiditis is an infection in the rectum and sigmoid colon, causing symptoms like bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, pain, and an inability to move the bowels despite the urge to do so (tenesmus).
• Left-sided colitis is inflammation that spreads from the rectum up through the sigmoid and descending colon with signs such as bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and pain on the left side, and urgency to defecate.
• Pancolitis modifies the entire colon and induces bouts of bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, pain, fatigue, and considerable weight loss.
Talk to the doctor when you observe a change in your bowel habits or if symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea that awakens you from sleep, blood in the stool and unexplained fever that occurs over one or two days. And if there is ongoing diarrhea that doesn't recover to over-the-counter medications. The ulcerative colitis disease usually isn't fatal, but it has some life-threatening complications.
The specific cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown, but diet and stress can worsen the condition. An immune system malfunction is considered a reason, as the immune system fights off an invading virus or bacterium.
When there is an abnormal immune response, the immune system attacks the cells in the digestive tract. Heredity factors have a role in that ulcerative colitis, but most people with this disease don't have this family history.
The following factors raise the risk:
• Ulcerative colitis can occur at any age, usually before 30, but some may not get it until after 60.
• Whites are more prone to the disease, but it may happen to any race.
• People with a close relative, such as a parent, sibling or child, with the disease, are at higher risk.
The primary complications of ulcerative colitis are severe bleeding and dehydration, a hole in the colon, osteoporosis, inflammation of the skin, joints and eyes. There is also raised risk of colon cancer, rapid swelling colon and increased risk of blood clots in veins and arteries.
Chief Arthur Mbanefo, 91 years old, former ambassador to the UN and Representative of Nigeria, thanks the American Hospital Dubai for the excellent medical treatment and personalized care he received.