Ulcerative colitis, also known as inflammatory bowel disease or IBD, is a painful medical condition which affects your colon. It’s caused by abnormal functioning of your immune system. Ulcerative colitis can cause pain, diarrhea, and other symptoms which can impact your life.
When you have ulcerative colitis, your immune system attacks the bacteria, foods, and other substances in your colon as if they were foreign materials harmful to your body. White blood cells are sent to your colon, causing inflammation, ulcerations, and severe pain.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis are:
- Chronic diarrhea, which can include blood or pus
- Chronic abdominal pain and severe cramping
- Rectal pain, rectal bleeding, and blood in your stool
- Frequent and urgent bowel movements
- Difficulty defecating
- Unintended weight loss
- Fatigue and fever
If you notice any of the signs and symptoms listed above, you need to visit your gastroenterologist for further testing. You may need:
- Laboratory work
- Imaging studies
- A colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or other procedure
If you are diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, your gastroenterologist may recommend immune suppressor medication like Remicade, to keep your immune system from producing excess inflammation-causing protein known as TNF-alpha.
Remicade is administered intravenously, directly into your bloodstream. It’s an outpatient procedure involving a series of 3 starting doses. After the initial administration of 3 doses, you will need maintenance doses every eight weeks to manage ulcerative colitis symptoms.
Remicade patients have shown an improvement in their ulcerative colitis symptoms in 6 out of 10 cases. Many Remicade patients have gone into remission after one year of treatment.
Your gastroenterologist may also recommend dietary and lifestyle modifications to help manage symptoms.
Ulcerative colitis is a painful condition which can dramatically affect your life. Your gastroenterologist can help control your painful symptoms, so you can get back to a full, active life. To find out more about ulcerative colitis signs, symptoms, and treatment, talk with an expert. Call your gastroenterologist today.