Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that occurs when inflammation affects your intestinal health and function. It is a common type of irritable bowel disease (another common type is Crohn’s disease).
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic (long-lasting) condition in which inflammation causes ulcers to form inside your large intestine. During ulcerative colitis flares, symptoms like the ones below may range from mild to severe and then disappear, only to reappear after some time.
At least 3 million Americans have some type of irritable bowel disease, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. These conditions occur most often in people over the age of 45.
Are you likely to develop ulcerative colitis? Maybe. Certain factors raise the risk of ulcerative colitis. For example, your likelihood of developing it increases if you smoke or have a family history of colitis or related conditions. However, it can affect anyone.
You can be on the lookout for ulcerative colitis by watching for its signs and symptoms. Here, the care providers at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants in The Woodlands, Texas, including Dr. Ilyas Memon, highlight five things to look out for.
When you have diarrhea, your stool becomes watery and soft. Having occasional diarrhea is not unusual, but having it with any regularity can be a sign of ulcerative colitis or several other types of gastrointestinal conditions.
Ulcerative colitis can cause a range of changes to your stool. These include stools that include blood, pus, or mucus. You should also be on the lookout for rectal bleeding.
The inflammatory attack on your large intestine can lead to various types of abdominal pain, including cramping, sharp pain, or dull pain. Pain may or may not be accompanied by other symptoms, such as fatigue or fever.
Having a sudden need to pass a bowel movement can be a sign of ulcerative colitis. Sometimes, you may need to pass stool even though you have no stool.
Ulcerative colitis can cause a loss or decrease in appetite, leading to unexplained weight loss. Anytime you lose weight without expressly trying to, mention it to your care provider.
It’s important to receive evaluation and treatment for ulcerative colitis because it can lead to other health complications if untreated. These include anemia, perforation (tears) in the colon, colorectal cancer, weak bones, and failure to grow normally (in children).
Treatment may include medication and/or surgery depending on the type of ulcerative colitis.
If you’re experiencing these or any digestive health symptoms, don’t put off being seen by one of our providers. And keep in mind that these symptoms can be signs of other conditions and ulcerative colitis.
To schedule an appointment at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants, call 281-764-9500 or book an appointment online.