Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the innermost lining of the large intestine. The disease can be chronic, and no cure has been found, but treatments are available to relieve symptoms. Certain types of bleeding ulcerative colitis should be treated immediately as it can be life-threatening.
Since ulcerative colitis cannot be cured, the goal is to relieve symptoms of the disease which in some cases can lead to remission. Anti-inflammatory drugs are the first line of defense in treatment of colitis. Azulfidine is a sulfa drug used to reduce inflammation. Unfortunately, the side effects can be nausea, vomiting and heartburn. Do not take if you are allergic to sulfa drugs. Rowasa, Colazal and Dipentum reduce symptoms of ulcerative colitis with fewer side effects than Azulfidine. Your doctor may prescribe these drugs in a variety of ways such as tablet, suppository or enema. Cortisteroids such as prednisone may be prescribed for severe to moderate ulcerative colitis. They are short-term medications, approximately three to four months, because of their severe side effects.
Immune suppressors such as Azasan and Imuran reduce inflammation by suppressing the immune system. The reasoning behind using immune suppressors is the belief that the immune system is attacking a bacterium or even its own tissues so by suppressing this response might reduce the inflammation.
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if an infection is present in your colon. Anti-diarrhea medications such as Metamucil may be recommended to reduce diarrhea. Pain relievers such as Motrin and Tylenol can help alleviate pain. When bleeding is severe in the colon, iron supplements may be recommended to restore iron levels to normal and avoid the risk of anemia.
When other treatments fail to help relieve symptoms, surgery may be recommended. Surgery can eliminate ulcerative colitis, but removal of the entire colon will be necessary. In a procedure called ileoanal anastomosis, your surgeon attaches a pouch from the end of the small intestine to the anus. Your bowel movements may remain soft and watery because there is no large intestine to absorb water.
Drink plenty of water to keep well hydrated and eat smaller meals five or six times a day to take the stress off of your large intestine. Limiting dairy and gassy foods such as beans, cabbage and broccoli can also keep symptoms from getting worse. When feeling stressed, try reading a book or listen to relaxation tapes, as stress can affect your digestion and make symptoms worse.Tags: ulcerative colitis, large intestine, reduce inflammation, relieve symptoms, side effects, doctor prescribe