Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County
Gastroenterologists located in Irvine, CA & Other Orange County Locations
Ulcerative colitis – a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – can cause abdominal and rectal pain, bleeding, diarrhea, and fecal incontinence. It's a chronic condition, but the board-certified gastroenterology team at Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County in California provides the most advanced treatment approaches to help minimize the symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Call one of the offices in Irvine, Huntington Beach, Tustin, or Foothill Ranch today to find out more or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment.
What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is inflammation and ulceration in your rectum and colon. It's a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn's disease.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic, incurable disorder that can be severely disabling at its worst. However, you can also experience long periods of remission from your symptoms and lead a full, active life with ongoing care from the team at Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County.
What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:
- Rectal bleeding
- Chronic diarrhea
- Blood and pus in your stools
- Frequent bowel movements
- Feeling like you haven't emptied your bowel
- Fecal urgency (needing to move your bowels with little warning)
- Severe straining during bowel movements
- Fecal incontinence
- Joint pain
- Rectal pain after passing stools
A severe flare-up of ulcerative colitis can leave you needing the toilet multiple times each day. You might feel unable to go out because of the risk of soiling yourself if you can't get to a toilet as soon as you feel the need. The rectal pain can also be so severe it makes it difficult to sit down.
What medications are used to treat ulcerative colitis?
Medications to reduce inflammation can be very effective in controlling ulcerative colitis. Your provider at Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County discusses the options with you and advises you on what's most likely to be effective.
Medication options for ulcerative colitis include:
Aminosalicylic acid (ASA) medications like mesalamine are prescription anti-inflammatories that are one of the safest ways to treat ulcerative colitis. You might need to take mesalamine orally or as a suppository that goes into your rectum, or both. The 5-ASA compounds are suitable for long-term use.
Corticosteroids might be necessary if your symptoms persist even after taking the maximum dose of 5-ASA compounds. Steroids are powerful forms of anti-inflammatories, but they do carry the risk of causing adverse reactions. Therefore, your provider would only prescribe them for short periods.
Immunosuppressants help reduce inflammation by lowering your immune system responses. You can take immunosuppressive drugs for longer periods than steroids.
Biologic drugs are a newer approach to reducing inflammation. They use synthetic antibodies to stop specific proteins in your body from causing inflammation.
Some patients also benefit from making lifestyle changes as well. High-fiber and high-fat foods might make your symptoms worse, so try avoiding them, or anything else you think might be affecting your symptoms. Finding ways to manage stress could also help.
If your symptoms are severe and no other treatments are helping, you might need to undergo surgery to remove the affected area of colon and your rectum in a procedure called a proctocolectomy. Your surgeon also performs an ileostomy or an ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA) to allow waste to leave your body safely.
If you have symptoms of ulcerative colitis, call Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County today or book an appointment online.
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