Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology Division
GASTROENTEROLOGY PRACTICE LOCATED IN POUGHKEEPSIE, NY, FISHKILL, NY & HIGHLAND, NY
Ulcerative colitis can affect people at any age, but diagnosis most often occurs between the ages of 15-30 years. The board-certified gastroenterologists at Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology Division work closely with each patient, managing their symptoms and providing treatments that help keep their disease in remission so they can stay active and enjoy life. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Fishkill, Poughkeepsie, or Highland, New York, or book an appointment online today.
Ulcerative Colitis Q & A
What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease that affects the lining of your rectum and colon (large intestine). Autoimmune diseases begin when your immune system attacks healthy tissues. As a result, the lining of your colon becomes inflamed, and open sores develop.
Two conditions are known as inflammatory bowel disease: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. They share similar symptoms, but they’re not the same problem, and they affect different parts of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Ulcerative colitis only develops in the inner lining of the rectum and colon. By comparison, Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract and cause inflammation through the entire wall.
What symptoms develop if I have ulcerative colitis?
Most people diagnosed with ulcerative colitis go through cycles of symptom flare-ups alternating with remission. When your symptoms flare, you may experience:
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in your stools
- Constant urge to have a bowel movement
- Bowel movements during the night
- Loss of bowel control
- Rectal pain
- Rectal bleeding
Your symptoms can vary over the course of your disease. When they’re severe, you can have more than six bowel movements and pass blood with your stool every time.
What health complications develop due to ulcerative colitis?
You won’t necessarily develop complications, but it’s important to know that if you have ulcerative colitis, your risk is higher for:
- Colorectal cancer
- Intestinal perforation
- Severe rectal bleeding
- Blood clots
- Liver disease
Your provider at Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology Division closely monitors your health and recommends more frequent colon cancer screenings.
How is ulcerative colitis treated?
Your treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms and how much of your large intestine ulcerative colitis affects you. Though your treatment is customized, it generally includes medication and surgery.
The initial treatment begins with medications to reduce inflammation, suppress your immune system, relieve your symptoms, and keep your disease in remission. If medication doesn’t help and your symptoms are severe, your provider talks with you about surgery to remove the colon and rectum.
This type of surgery, called a proctocolectomy, cures ulcerative colitis. In most cases, you can have a restorative procedure in which your provider creates a pouch that collects waste and lets you have normal bowel movements.
If you struggle with abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and other symptoms of ulcerative colitis, don’t wait to get help from the experts at Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology Division. Call or book an appointment online today.