Tags: Digestive Problems | digestive system diseases | ulcerative colitis

Digestive System Diseases: What You Need to Know About Ulcerative Colitis

By    |   Monday, 02 May 2016 09:26 PM

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic digestive system disease that affects the large intestine, causing inflammation of the lining of the colon. Ulcers in the lining develop. Patients suffer from frequent emptying of the colon and abdominal discomfort.

Among chronic digestive system diseases, ulcerative colitis occurs when the immune system mistakenly identifies food, bacteria, and other substances as invaders to the body.

Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are inflammatory bowel diseases, explains the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. But ulcerative colitis affects only the colon while Crohn’s affects anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract.

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Aside from urgent bowel movements and cramping, abdominal pain, ulcerative colitis also causes persistent diarrhea with abdominal pain and blood in the stool. Loss of appetite, weight loss, low energy, and fatigue may also occur.

Symptoms may disappear and not recur for months or years, the foundation notes.

Research has not found what causes the disease, but studies have suggested a virus or bacterial infection of the colon contributes to the immune system’s response.

Heredity may be a factor, but research continues. Both men and women are equally affected and it can occur at any age. Children with the digestive system disease may experience delay in growth.

Medication to reduce bowel inflammation and relieve symptoms includes corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, antibiotics and 5-aminosalicylic drugs, according to Cleveland Clinic.

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If medications are not effective enough, surgery may be necessary because of severe complications.

The operation may involve removal of the large intestine or removing both the colon and rectum to prevent the development of colon cancer, notes Cleveland Clinic. An opening in the abdominal wall allows a pouch to be attached, or an internal pouch may be formed using the small intestine.

Dietary measures are often recommended for digestive system diseases. Limiting dairy products may avoid abdominal pain and diarrhea, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some patients may have to limit high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which might worsen symptoms. Spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine may also be culprits.

Eating small meals five or six times a day instead of three big meals could ease symptoms. Drinking plenty of fluids helps the digestive system. Multivitamins add nutrients patients cannot get from foods they can’t eat.

Stress doesn’t cause ulcerative colitis, but it could worsen symptoms and cause flare-ups.

The Mayo Clinic suggests such techniques as exercise, biofeedback, and breathing exercises as stress management to lessen the effects of digestive system diseases.

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Among chronic digestive system diseases, ulcerative colitis occurs when the immune system mistakenly identifies food, bacteria, and other substances as invaders to the body.
digestive system diseases, ulcerative colitis
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2016-26-02
Monday, 02 May 2016 09:26 PM
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