Ulcerative Colitis in Florida
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What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is an individual part of a more expansive group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This condition creates uncomfortable swelling and ulcerations inside one's gastrointestinal (GI) tract, most often the large intestine. Ulcerative colitis is different from Crohn's disease (the alternate type of IBD) because it is limited to one's colon. Crohn's disease, conversely, is typically found at the end of the small intestine and beginning of the colon but can potentially involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract at any point between the mouth to the anus. Also, ulcerative colitis only involves the inner lining of the colon, while Crohn’s disease may impact the entirety of the bowel wall.
People who have the challenges of suffering from ulcerative colitis commonly deal with uncomfortable GI troubles which create problems in their daily lives. At Gastroenterology Associates of Florida, our board-certified gastrointestinal specialists regularly diagnose and treat ulcerative colitis, and collaborate with individuals to help provide a reprieve from its symptoms. To find treatment for ulcerative colitis in Florida, we implore you to reach out to our facility today.
Are there different kinds of ulcerative colitis?
There are several different types of ulcerative colitis, that are usually related to anatomy:
Ulcerative proctitis: The inflammation of the colon is isolated to the rectum and is typically the least severe type of ulcerative colitis. A common sign of having ulcerative proctitis is rectal bleeding.
Left-sided colitis: Inflammation is more dispersed throughout the colon and can impact more than the rectum but is restrained to all or part of the sigmoid and descending colon. It often presents with troubling symptoms, including bloody diarrhea and unintended weight loss.
Pancolitis: This condition is known also as extensive colitis and can affect the whole of the colon. Symptoms might include extreme bloody diarrhea, extreme abdominal pain, and fatigue.
Acute severe ulcerative colitis: This is a more unusual type of ulcerative colitis that affects the entire colon. Its symptoms may include extreme pain and the loss of ability to consume food. This condition often requires hospitalization and carries a much greater likelihood of surgery.
To learn more in detail about this condition and how it can affect you, schedule a consultation with our GI providers. We will guide you toward a proper treatment for this GI disease. Contact us at our Gastroenterology Associates of Florida location today.
What causes ulcerative colitis?
The exact reason for the development of ulcerative colitis continues to be unknown. However, we have identified some factors that appear to raise the chance of the manifestation of ulcerative colitis and its related symptoms.
- Genetics: A person could inherit genetic material from your parent or parents which elevates the risk of being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.
- Immune system: It is commonly accepted that internal bacteria or viruses will initiate the onset of ulcerative colitis. When bacteria or a virus enters the digestive tract, your body activates your immune system to defend against the virus or bacteria. Anytime this occurs, the body releases white blood cells to the colon and those cells end up attacking non-problematic cells and tissue. Due to this your colon or large intestine becomes inflamed.
Are there risk factors for ulcerative colitis?
A portion of the complicating factors related to having ulcerative colitis include:
- Age: Ulcerative colitis typically develops before 30 years of age.
- Ethnicity or race: People of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and Caucasians appear to be at an elevated likelihood of developing ulcerative colitis, but it can affect any race.
- Family history: If a relative suffers from ulcerative colitis, you have an increased risk of developing this disease.
What are typical symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
The majority of symptoms associated with ulcerative colitis manifest slowly and range from mild to severe. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis usually include:
- Sudden weight loss
- Sores in the mouth
- Normal menstrual cycle disruption
- Pain or drainage near or around the anus
- Pain in the abdomen
- Stomach cramps
- Bloody Diarrhea with pus
- Rectal pain
- Bloody stool
Should you ever see bloody stool, we urge you to reach out to your physician or a specialist in Florida immediately. You should see a gastroenterologist if you experience any of the above-listed symptoms or a combination of symptoms regularly. The board-certified gastroenterologists at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida are here to offer you experienced care for ulcerative colitis and can assist in the treatment and management of these problems.
How do you treat ulcerative colitis?
The main goals of ulcerative colitis treatments at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida are to control the inflammation that initiates your symptoms and subsequently enter into remission of the condition. Ongoing treatment includes but is not limited to regular cancer screenings, considering suffering from ulcerative colitis puts you at higher risk for developing colon cancer. The main parts of ulcerative colitis treatments are as follows:
Antibiotics: Antibiotics have been shown to help eliminate bacteria known to cause the unusual immune system reaction that leads to swelling. These are not a mainstay of therapy but could be used in conjunction with other treatments.
Anti-inflammatory drugs: Anti-inflammatory drugs utilized to manage ulcerative colitis are oral 5-aminosalicylates and corticosteroids. Corticosteroids assist in the reduction of inflammation in the body and may be administered along with immune system suppressors. Oral 5-aminosalicylates are also useful in the reduction of inflammation in the body.
Additional medications and supplements may be recommended to help with ulcerative colitis difficulties. These might include:
- Iron supplementation
- Vitamin B-12 shots
- Vitamin D and calcium supplements
Long-term anti-inflammatory therapies: These therapies address our body’s unusual immune reaction to bacteria and viruses. The immunosuppressant medications your Florida gastroenterologist might prescribe include:
Diet and Nutrition: Your gastrointestinal specialist may recommend a unique nutrition plan to help relieve symptoms and induce remission.
Surgery: In extreme situations, surgery might be required to take out a part of, or the entire, colon or rectum.
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Ulcerative Colitis FAQs
Can ulcerative colitis be cured?
Currently, no cure has been identified for ulcerative colitis. Medication can be used to manage the disease and its symptoms but will not resolve it. Medication intervention can, however, help you achieve and remain in remission.
Does diet cause ulcerative colitis?
The cause of ulcerative colitis has not been identified. Some dietary factors may increase the risk of developing the disorder. This includes diets high in refined carbs, fats, and sugar and low in fruits, fiber, and vegetables.
Who can diagnose ulcerative colitis?
Your GI issues may prompt you to see your primary doctor. If your PCP suspects ulcerative colitis, they will likely send you to a digestive health specialist, like those at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida. It is beneficial to partner with a team that focuses on conditions of the GI tract.
Can anything help the disease stay in remission?
If your ulcerative colitis is in remission, you likely desire to remain symptom-free. A few factors to keep in mind during remission include:
- Stress: Stress might cause ulcerative colitis symptoms to return. Getting proper sleep, exercising regularly, and learning how to manage your stress could minimize your chances of a flare-up.
- Medications: If you are experiencing fever or pain, you may consider taking acetaminophen (Tylenol®) rather than an NSAID (such as Motrin® or Advil®) since acetaminophen is not as likely to trigger symptoms. Speak with your doctor for more information.
- Medication change: If your current medications seem to cause GI issues, please get in touch with our team. We might be able to change your medication for one less likely to cause a flare-up.
Find help for ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis can take a toll on a person's overall comfort and digestive well-being. With experienced treatment, however, you can manage the situation and improve your quality of life. Whether you are in the midst of the beginning symptoms or controlling ulcerative colitis flare-ups post-remission, the gastroenterologists at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida can provide you with individualized treatment choices to help you find a reprieve. To consult a doctor who offers care for ulcerative colitis in Florida, please contact our team as soon as possible.
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