Symptoms Of Ulcerative Colitis And Treatments Your Gastroenterologist Might Recommend

Ulcerative colitis is a medical condition that causes inflammation and ulcers in your colon. If your family doctor suspects you have this condition, you might be referred to a gastroenterologist for treatment. These are some symptoms of ulcerative colitis and treatments your gastroenterologist might recommend.

Symptoms Associated With Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis can affect a portion of your colon or your entire colon. Your symptoms can be mild or severe. A common symptom is blood in your stools, and you might have frequent bloody diarrhea. You may experience cramping or have trouble emptying your bowels. In more severe cases, fever might develop due to infection. You could even become anemic due to blood loss and feel exhausted all the time. When you notice changes in your bowel habits, it's good to let your doctor know so the cause can be determined before you develop complications.

Tests That Help Your Doctor Diagnose The Condition

Your doctor may want to test a stool sample when diagnosing your condition. You'll probably have blood tests done as well as imaging tests such as a CT scan or MRI. In addition, your doctor may order a colonoscopy to look inside your colon with a scope to check for inflammation and ulcers.

Treatments That Might Help Ulcerative Colitis

When you have this condition, your symptoms may come and go. You could even go into remission for a time. One possible cause of ulcerative colitis is an immune response in your body, so your gastroenterologist might recommend immune suppression drugs. Since inflammation plays a role in this condition, you might also take anti-inflammatory medication. When an infection is present, you may need to add antibiotics to your treatment regimen. There are several medications used to treat ulcerative colitis, so your gastroenterologist can try different ones if necessary to find one that's effective for your condition.

When ulcerative colitis is severe, surgery might be needed. This involves removing the colon, so it's used only if you don't respond to other treatments. While you can have a mild case and find your condition easy to manage, ulcerative colitis can be serious for some people and lead to dangerous complications such as excessive blood loss and colon perforation.

Your doctor may advise you to change your diet when you have ulcerative colitis. This could require that you keep a food diary and track what you eat against your symptoms to discover the foods you need to avoid. Building a list of foods you can eat without aggravating your symptoms is important so you don't lose weight or become dehydrated due to loss of appetite, diarrhea, or pain caused by your condition.

For more information on ulcerative colitis, consult a gastroenterology specialist in your area.