Inflammatory processes can also occur in the intestine . Some of these processes have common characteristics and are called Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) . Ulcerative colitis is one of those inflammations, and in this article we will talk a little more about it.
Keep reading to understand what ulcerative colitis is, what are the different types of it, what causes this inflammation in the intestine and how it is possible to treat this problem.
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What is ulcerative colitis?
Retocolitis or intestinal ulcerative colitis (UCU), is an inflammation that causes ulcerations in the intestine , more precisely in the rectum and at the end of the large intestine , although it can also extend through the rest of it.
This inflammation is a chronic and non-contagious disease . It affects the most superficial layer of the intestine (the mucosa), and usually manifests itself in individuals between 15 and 30 years of age , although it occurs at any stage of life.
It is different from Crohn’s disease in that it generally does not affect the entire thickness of the intestinal wall and hardly extends into the small intestine. It receives different classifications according to the extent of the affected intestine:
Proctosigmoiditis: refers to the inflammation that affects the sigmoid, that is, the lower end of the colon and the rectum. Its symptoms are: abdominal pain, cramps and bloody diarrhea.
Ulcerative proctitis: inflammation that is located in the rectus intestine, closer to the anus, being a slightly milder problem, despite having rectal bleeding as a symptom.
Pancolitis: this inflammation usually affects the entire extension of the colon causing slightly more intense symptoms, such as severe episodes of bloody diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal cramps and weight loss.
Colitis on the left side: in this type of retocolitis, inflammation affects the rectum, the sigmoid and descending colon. It has this name because it causes pain in the left side of the abdomen, abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and weight loss.
Acute severe ulcerative colitis: this is a rarer manifestation of inflammation and affects the entire extension of the colon. It causes intense symptoms, such as pain, bleeding, fever, abundant diarrhea and inability to eat.
It is worth noting that when ulcerative colitis affects younger people, it usually manifests itself even more seriously. In addition, it receives classifications according to the intensity , thus being able to be mild, moderate or severe .
What are the causes of ulcerative colitis?
It is not yet known exactly what triggers ulcerative colitis, however, it is possible that it is triggered by a disorder of the immune system . In this case, the organism understands that the intestine is a foreign organ , so it begins to fight the cells of the mucosa of the rectum and colon.
This abnormal immune response triggers a persistent fight by stimulating inflammation and making it chronic. But the problem can also be related to heredity , as the inflammatory process occurs in people with a family history of this disease. Despite this, it is not a determining factor, because even people without this family history develop ulcerative colitis.
How is ulcerative colitis treated?
Ulcerative colitis is a difficult disease to cure , but it can be controlled so that the person lives with it without manifesting symptoms. After all, this disease occurs in episodes , and some people have periods of remission that can last for several years , however, there are those who live with the inflammation continuously.
Therefore, treatment involves measures that help control inflammation and improve the patient’s quality of life. Medicines are prescribed to contain this inflammatory process and most patients respond well.
In some cases, it is necessary to interfere with the immune system by administering potent immunosuppressants or immunobiologicals. There is still the possibility of having surgery , especially in more severe cases, when there is no good response to medication or for patients at greater risk of developing cancer.
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So that ulcerative colitis can be properly controlled and, for that, it is essential to have the support of a specialist. Therefore, in any sign of discomfort or manifestation of symptoms, see a doctor.