Get answers to your Ulcerative Colitis questions.
Inflammatory bowel disease - ulcerative colitis; Colitis - ulcerative
Treatment can help suppress the inflammatory response and manage symptoms. A treatment plan for ulcerative colitis includes:
Malnutrition may occur in ulcerative colitis, although it tends to be less severe than with Crohnâ ' s disease. Patients with ulcerative colitis may experience reduced appetite and weight loss.
Patients should strive to eat a well-balanced healthy diet and focus on getting enough calories, protein, and essential nutrients from a variety of food groups. These include protein sources such as meat, chicken, fish or soy; dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese (if the patient is not lactose-intolerant); and fruits and vegetables.
Depending on your nutritional status, your doctor may recommend that you take a multivitamin or iron supplement. Other types of dietary supplements, such as probiotics (â€śhealthy bacteriaâ€ť like lactobacilli), are being investigated for ulcerative colitis, Studies suggest that probiotics do not help much for remission, but they may have modest effects for reducing disease activity and improving symptoms in people with mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis.
Certain types of foods may worsen diarrhea and gas symptoms, especially during times of active disease. While people vary in their individual sensitivity to foods, general guidelines for dietary management during active disease include:
Drug therapies for ulcerative colitis aim to resolve symptoms (induce remission) and prevent flare-ups (maintain remission). The main types of drugs used for treating ulcerative colitis include:
Drug therapy is considered successful if it can push the disease into remission (and keep it there) without causing significant side effects. The patient's condition is generally considered in remission when the intestinal lining has healed and symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and tenesmus (straining painfully or ineffectively to defecate or urinate) are normal or close to normal.
Other types of drugs may also be used to treat specific conditions and symptoms associated with ulcerative colitis. Anti-diarrheal medications such as loperamide (Imodium) may be given to help control diarrhea.
Drugs do not help about 25 - 40% of patients with ulcerative colitis. As a result, these people nee surgical treatment. Surgery may also be necessary because of hemorrhage, perforation of the colon, or toxic megacolon.
Total proctocolectomy with ileal pouch anal anastomosis (IPAA), also known as restorative proctolectomy, and total proctocolectomy with ileostomy are the two definitive surgical approaches for widespread ulcerative colitis that cannot be controlled with medications. Other patients may have a colectomy (resection of a portion of the colon) for more limited disease.
Crohnâ ' s disease can recur after any attempt at bowel resection, but ulcerative colitis does not recur after total proctocolectomy, which is considered a cure for ulcerative colitis. (See Surgery section for more detailed information.)
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Clark M, Colombel JF, Feagan BC, Fedorak RN, Hanauer SB, Kamm MA, et al. American gastroenterological association consensus development conference on the use of biologics in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, June 21-23, 2006. Gastroenterology. 2007 Jul;133(1):312-39.
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