If you suffer from abdominal pain, diarrhea, or rectal bleeding, you may be one of the over 900,000 Americans who live with ulcerative colitis (UC). The team at Gateway Gastroenterology, which has locations in Chesterfield, Missouri, can help determine what’s causing your symptoms and provide the treatment you need. To schedule a consultation for ulcerative colitis, call the Gateway Gastroenterology office or request one online today.
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation and the formation of small ulcers throughout your colon and rectum. The inflammation causes frequent and loose bowel movements. You may also observe mucus, blood, or pus in your stool. Other ulcerative colitis symptoms include:
You may feel an urgent need to defecate but cannot have a bowel movement. Ulcerative colitis also disrupts your nutrient absorption and may lead to anemia in some cases.
Your symptoms can range in severity, and you may experience periods of remission without any symptoms, in addition to flare-ups when your symptoms are even more severe.
Researchers haven’t determined the exact cause of ulcerative colitis, but they believe it may be due to an overactive immune system. You may have a genetic predisposition to the disease, and environmental factors including viruses, bacteria, and antigens could trigger your symptoms and cause a flare-up.
Your risk of developing ulcerative colitis increases if you have other immunological disorders or you have a family member who also has the condition.
The physicians at Gateway Gastroenterology diagnose ulcerative colitis with a physical exam and a few tests, including:
The stool samples and blood tests reveal infections, signs of anemia, and high levels of c-reactive proteins. Endoscopy, colonoscopy, and CT scans allow your doctor to examine the lining of your colon for signs of ulcers and other damage.
Ulcerative colitis treatment depends on the severity of your condition. Your doctor may be able to control your disease with medicine to reduce inflammation in your colon or drugs to suppress your immune system.
However, if your ulcerative colitis is advanced, you might need surgery to repair your colon. Your physician may need to remove the damaged part of your colon and reroute your pathway for solid waste either through your rectum or a new opening in your abdomen into an ileostomy bag.
If you have ulcerative colitis symptoms or symptoms of another gastrointestinal disease, make an appointment at Gateway Gastroenterology. Call the office or request an appointment online today.