Causes and treatment for ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic, long-term, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation and ulcers (sores) in the lining of the large intestine (Colon). Only the lower section of the colon, i.e., sigmoid colon and the rectum are affected. But it can cause damage to the entire colon. Rectal bleeding, cramping and abdominal pain and diarrhea are the primary symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis which usually develop over time and can range from mild to severe. Ulcerative Colitis occurs in people aged 15 to 25 years where both men and women appear to be equally affected. The Ulcerative Colitis treatment helps in reducing signs and symptoms and even brings about long-term remission.
Here are the possible factors that result in the development of Ulcerative Colitis:
The direct causes of Ulcerative Colitis are not known yet. Earlier, diet and stress were considered to be the causative factor behind this disease, but now the experts say that these factors may worsen the condition but do not cause the symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis.
However, researchers believe that ulcerative Colitis is caused by a combination of below-mentioned factors:
- Immune System Dysfunction
Ulcerative Colitis is considered to be an autoimmune condition. It might be caused by the immune system – the body’s defense against infection overreacting to normal bacteria in the digestive tract. When the immune system mistakes harmless bacteria inside the colon for a threat and tries to fight off that invading virus or bacterium, an abnormal immune response causes the immune system to attack the tissues of the colon causing it to be inflamed.
Inherited genes are also considered as a factor in the occurrence of Ulcerative Colitis. Studies have observed that around 1 in 7 people with the disease have a close one who has been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis.
- Environmental factors
The surrounding and the lifestyle of a person can also affect the chances of developing Ulcerative Colitis, which suggests environmental factors certainly have a role as a contributor to the pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis.
- Ulcerative Colitis treatment
There are varieties of Ulcerative Colitis treatment options available that can be used to control Ulcerative Colitis. To put Ulcerative colitis under control and attain a period of lessor no symptoms is the primary motive of Ulcerative colitis treatment that depends on the amount of involvement and acuteness of disease.
Medications for Ulcerative Colitis treatment aim to reduce the inflammation that is the primary cause of symptoms arising from this disease and induce remission.
The medications used for the Ulcerative Colitis treatment are mentioned below:
- Aminosalicylates (5-ASAs)
Aminosalicylates decrease inflammation in the lining of the colon and are used in treating mild to moderate ulcerative colitis symptoms. This is one of the new treatment ulcerative colitis which works!
Corticosteroids reduce inflammation by suppressing the immune system and are given during moderate to severe Ulcerative Colitis symptoms. It decreases inflammation throughout the body without direct contact with the inflamed tissue.
Immunomodulators suppress the body’s immune response either by reducing the cells that provide immunity or by interfering with proteins that cause inflammation.
Biologics suppresses the immune system to lower inflammation by targeting a specific pathway and is given to patients who have not responded to regular therapy.
If a patient does not respond well to medical treatment or spends quality of life affected by repeated flare-ups, then surgery is considered for Ulcerative Colitis treatment. Surgery is necessary when a huge amount of bleeding takes place, or there are chronic and debilitating symptoms, perforation of the colon, or a severe blockage. The mechanism involves elimination of the entire colon and rectum which is affected, with the formation of an ileostomy (an opening on the abdomen through which wastes are emptied into a pouch, which is attached to the skin with glue).
Today, a new Ulcerative Colitis treatment has been developed that avoids an ileostomy. By forming a pouch internally from the small bowel and connecting it to the anal sphincter muscle, the bowel integrity can be preserved thereby removing the need for the patient to wear an external ostomy device
Lifestyle changes can also help in managing some of the life-affecting symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis. The following practices reduce the effect of this disease:
- Drinking adequate amount of water throughout the day
- Having smaller meals throughout the day
- Taking proper diet and nutrition.
- Taking proper sleep and improving sleep timings.
- Doing regular exercise.
Ulcerative colitis can become hard to live with and has a great emotional and social impact on the affected person. It is advised to make an early diagnosis if any of the symptoms are detected and seek support from family and friends as it will be a great help for coping with this disease.