Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic disease that affects the large intestine. It can cause the colon to become inflamed, resulting in ulcers that produce pus and mucus. It also causes inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract. Most UC symptoms gradually develop over time, and some of the most common UC symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal pain
- Weight loss
People who experience any of the aforementioned UC symptoms should consult with a doctor immediately; otherwise, UC symptoms that go unaddressed may lead to long-lasting health issues.
Is Ulcerative Colitis Common?
The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (CCF) estimates UC currently affects up to 907,000 Americans. Although UC can be discovered at any age, most people are likely to be diagnosed with UC in their mid-30s, the CCF notes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is an average of 37 to 246 cases of UC per 100,000 adults in the United States. The CDC notes that among inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), UC is more common in men than women. Also, the CDC states UC is more common in ex-smokers and non-smokers than other IBD.
Mayo Clinic points out individuals who develop ulcerative colitis at a young age may experience more severe symptoms than those who develop it at an older age.
The primary cause of UC remains unknown, but Mayo Clinic notes one possible cause of UC is an immune system malfunction that occurs when the immune system tries to combat invading viruses or bacteria. Research also indicates intestinal inflammation related to UC may be linked to leaky gut, a condition that causes bacteria and toxins to leak through the intestinal wall.
Types of Ulcerative Colitis
UC is generally classified based on location, and the types of UC include:
- Ulcerative Proctitis: Refers to inflammation near the anus. Ulcerative proctitis often causes rectal bleeding and tends to be a mild form of UC.
- Proctosigmoiditis: Causes inflammation of the rectum and sigmoid colon (lower portion of the colon). Common symptoms of proctosigmoiditis include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and the inability to move the bowels as needed.
- Left-Sided Colitis: Results in inflammation from the rectum to the descending colon. Left-sided colitis symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss.
- Pancolitis: Affects some or all of the colon. Pancolitis symptoms include abdominal pain, fatigue, and weight loss.
How Is Ulcerative Colitis Treated?
There is currently no known cure for ulcerative colitis. Mild UC symptoms may be treated with a combination of antidiarrheal medicines, enemas, or suppositories that contain medicine, steroid medicines, aminosalicylates (medicines that help control inflammation in the intestines), and dietary changes.
Comparatively, moderate to severe UC symptoms may require higher doses of steroid medicines and aminosalicylates, along with immunomodulatory medicines and biologics, and surgery to remove portions of the colon may be used as a last resort.
People who are interested in a dietary or more natural approach to manage their UC often try bovine colostrum based on the recommendation of a naturopath. Research shows that bovine colostrum can be a valuable tool in the management of gastrointestinal diseases. To learn more about Colostrum-LD®, continue reading our blog posts or for a free trial pack, visit our website.