This type of inflammatory bowel disease occurs in the rectum and affects the colon as well. Ulcerative colitis typically starts in the rectal area and may spread to involve the entire large intestine over time.
The cause is unknown, but ulcerative colitis is often linked to problems with the immune system. However, it is not clear whether immune problems cause this illness. Although stress and certain foods can trigger symptoms, they do not cause ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative colitis may affect any age group, although there are peaks between ages 15 and 30, and then again between ages 50 and 70. Other risk factors include:
A colonoscopy with a biopsy is generally used to diagnose ulcerative colitis. Since ulcerative colitis increases the risk of colon cancer, colonoscopies are also used to screen people for colon cancer. If you have this condition, you should get a colonoscopy 8 to 12 years after being diagnosed. You should then have a follow-up colonoscopy every 1 to 2 years.
Other tests that may be done as well, including:
Treatment is used to control acute attacks, prevent repeated attacks and help the colon heal. These goals can be achieved through lifestyle changes, such as:
The following medications may be used to decrease the number of attacks:
Surgery to remove the colon will cure ulcerative colitis and removes the threat of colon cancer. Surgery is usually recommended for patients who have: