One type of inflammatory bowel disease is a condition called ulcerative colitis. This disease affects the large intestine and rectum of the sufferer. Ulcerative colitis will affect any age group, and its cause is unknown. Certain foods and stress can exacerbate the symptoms that are experienced.
General symptoms experienced by those with ulcerative colitis include abdominal pain and cramping which varies in intensity. The bowel movements may become a watery diarrhea and contain visible pus or blood. The individual may also develop a fever, weight loss with anorexia, nausea and vomiting.
In some cases additional symptoms may manifest including intestinal bleeding which can be serious and require blood transfusions. When dealing with severe diarrhea, there is the possibility of dehydration which may require treatment. Joints may become swollen or painful, and the mouth and skin may develop sores.
Children that are afflicted by this disease may experience a slower growth rate and delayed sexual maturity.
Ulcerative colitis can lead to many complications like liver dysfunction, complications due to steroid therapy, blood clots, narrowing of the colon, malnutrition, and intestinal perforation. Those with chronic inflammation are also at a much greater risk of colon and rectal cancer.
Testing to diagnose and monitor ulcerative colitis consists of barium enema, colonoscopy, and blood work.
Treatment for this condition is a combination of diet restrictions, medication and hospitalization as required to treat the symptoms experienced by the individual. A limited diet may restrict dairy products, fatty or fried foods, and high fiber items. Each person has a different threshold and will experience a period of trial and error of what works for them. Medication and hospitalization is used as necessary to control the symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
For chronic sufferers there are surgical options available. These surgeries focus on removal of the diseased tissue.