What is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers (sores) in your digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis affects the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum. Symptoms usually develop over time, rather than suddenly.
Who is impacted?
Ulcerative colitis affects about the same number of women and men. Risk factors may include:
- Age: Ulcerative colitis usually begins before the age of 30. But can occur at any age some people may not develop the disease until after the age of 60.
- Race or ethnicity: Although whites have the highest risk of the disease, it can occur in any race. The risk is greater in those who are of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.
- Family history
How is UC diagnosed?
Diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis is typically done after ruling out other possible causes for the disease. There is a combination of tests and procedures to confirm a diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis such as:
- Blood tests
- Stool sample
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- CT scan
- Computerized tomography (CT) enterography and magnetic resonance (MR) enterography
How is Ulcerative Colitis Treated?
Ulcerative colitis treatment usually involves either drug therapy or surgery. Several categories of drugs may be effective in treating ulcerative colitis. The medication or regimen prescribed will depend on the severity of the condition. The drugs that work well for some people may not work for others, so it may take time to find a medication that helps. In addition, because some drugs have serious side effects, prescribers and patients need to weigh the benefits and risks of any treatment.
The classes of medication used in Ulcerative Colitis are as follows:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Immune system suppressors