Ulcerative Colitis Q & A
If your immune system goes into overdrive, it can trigger ulcerative colitis, a disorder causing cramps, diarrhea, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Jan J. Shim, MD, offers specialized care for gastrointestinal ailments like ulcerative colitis. Dr. Shim and her patient-centered team can help ease your symptoms so you can enjoy all of the activities you love. Call her main office in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York, or her office in Fort Lee, New Jersey, today, or schedule a consultation online.
What is ulcerative colitis?
An ongoing, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis happens when your large intestine, or colon, becomes inflamed and pitted. This can lead to flare-ups of symptoms, such as fever, bloody diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
While the cause of ulcerative colitis isn’t known for certain, it’s thought to be linked to an overactive immune system in the intestine, or to family history. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis typically develop over time. The condition has no known cure, but treatment can help manage your symptoms to enhance your overall well-being.
There are a variety of types of ulcerative colitis, and they’re often categorized based on where the ailment is located. For example, ulcerative proctitis is an inflammation in the area near your rectum, while pancolitis affects your whole large intestine, or colon.
What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
The symptoms of ulcerative colitis vary, depending on the location and severity of the inflammation. Signs and symptoms can include:
- Diarrhea, often with pus or blood
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Rectal pain or bleeding
- An urgent need to defecate
- Inability to defecate despite feeling an urgent need
- Weight loss
These symptoms usually happen during flare-ups, which can last days or weeks and can come back at any time.
How is ulcerative colitis diagnosed?
Dr. Shim typically recommends a series of tests to rule out other health conditions before confirming a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis. You’ll usually need tests of your blood and stool, an X-ray, CT scan, or colonoscopy. During a colonoscopy, Dr. Shim uses a long, flexible tube to view the inside of your entire colon, and, if need be, take small tissue samples for lab testing.
How is ulcerative colitis treated?
Dr. Shim designs a treatment plan that’s right for your type of ulcerative colitis. This plan usually involves medication and may call for surgery. You can be prescribed 5-aminosalicylates, or a corticosteroid, such as prednisone or hydrocortisone.
Other medications that could help your condition include:
- Drugs to suppress your immune system
- Anti-diarrheal medications
Dr. Shim also can recommend iron supplements to help ward off anemia.
If you think you have some of the signs of ulcerative colitis, then don’t delay in getting the dedicated, high-caliber medical care you deserve. Call or book a consultation online with Jan J. Shim, MD, today.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.