Ulcerative colitis, distal colitis, pancolitis, or proctitis involve inflammation of the colon and rectum (IBD). Symptoms mimic Crohn's disease such as pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, ulcers, and intestinal problems. Treatment includes the colitis diet and finding what causes the immune system to disrupt.
This condition happens in response to a defective immune system and gastrointestinal system (from mouth to anus). UC can have major flare-ups or be in a calm state of remission. The most common term used to explain it is inflammation in the top layer of the lining of the rectum and colon. This inflammation causes frequent diarrhea. Pus and blood are produced from sores and ulcers as inflammation kills the cells that line the colon.
It differs from Crohn's disease mainly due to location. Crohn's affects the inner most lining of the gastrointestinal system.
People between the ages of 50-70 have less chance of getting the disease. Women, men, and children can get ulcerative colitis although it usually shows up between the ages of 15-30. People of Jewish descent and Caucasians have a higher frequency of ulcerative colitis. It also seems to run in families. Up to 20% of people with ulcerative colitis have a relative, most often a sibling, with the same condition or Crohn's disease.
IBD is inflammation of the colon and small intestines. The major types of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis but other forms exist such as:
Irritable bowel syndrome is not a disease but it is a condition of many uncomfortable symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract (from mouth to anus). These symptoms are different for each particular person. They include:
is a serious disease that causes swelling and inflammation deep into
the inner most lining of the intestines. It can affect any part of the
gastrointestinal (GI) tract but usually affects the iluem, which is the
lower part of the small intestine. Some parts of the bowel may be
healthy while others will be diseased. The disease can be one of many
accutane side affects.
Common symptoms include diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss, fever, and abdominal pain. Crohn's disease can affect familes as 20% have a relative with a similar condition. It also affects people of Jewish decent more often.
In the medical world, there is no consensus of a cause for UC but the immune system is involved and it is said to act abnormally to the bacteria in the digestive tract and attack itself. Other health professionals believe UC may be caused by an unhealthy lifestyle and food sensitivities and allergies to Candida albicans and other types of fungus which can lead to yeast infections.
Other research has implicated measles as a possible cause because there is a correlation between people who had received the measles vaccine had an increase in UC.
Women who take oral contraceptives were also found to have a higher incidence of UC.
Doctors and hospitals treat UC with a variety of drugs such as aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, immunomodulators, and as a last result, surgery is performed to remove the colon and rectum. These drugs are used to control inflammation but come with side effects such as diarrhea, diabetes, hepatitis, bone mass loss, and risk of infection.
As a last result, proctocolectomy surgery can be preformed to remove the colon and rectum. This surgery results in either an ileostomy or ileoanal anastomosis. In the ileostomy a pouch is worn on the outside of the body to collect waste instead of using the toilet. The pouch is connected to the body permanently by a circular incision the doctor makes on the lower abdomen. This opening, called the stoma, is connected the small intestine called the ileum. After waste is collected in the pouch it is emptied.
The patient will need to learn how to change the pouch frequently and adjust to this new way of life. A nurse will often need to change the pouch for the patient until he/she is comfortable using it. There are certain supplies that need to be kept to change the pouch as well. Some people who have the pouch can change it easily after time and it becomes second nature while others take a while longer.
In an Ileoanal, the outer muscles of the rectum and part of the anus are still left in tact and the patient can still have normal bowel movements. The colon and inside part of the rectum is removed. A pouch is created by the surgeon that attaches the ileum to the inside of the rectum and anus where waste is stored. Inflammation can occur in the pouch, or what's called pouchitis.
Other alternatives to surgery include making dietary changes. Many times UC can become agitated by foods that cause allergies so it's best not to eat those foods. Through supplements and the colitis diet some people have had success at healing their intestinal inflammation.
Doctors who've traveled the world and gone to African for instance, often notice how those who consume their native local foods excrete larger amounts of feces daily when compared to Western civilization bowel movements. These people who ate indigenous foods also suffer less from diseases such as diabetes, gallstones, obesity, and colon cancer.
Symptoms include abdominal pain, bloody stools, cramping, diarrhea, fever, weight loss, polyps, and constipation. Other complications may develop including arthritis, skin or eye inflammation, liver disease, colon cancer, and kidney disease.
Ulcerataive proctitis is when inflammation occurs in the rectum and lower part of the colon.
Diverticulitis is the result of constipation and starts out as diverticular disease where tiny pouches have blown out of the intestinal wall, mostly in the colon. When the bowel wall has to pass hard bulky stool along the colon, it becomes more difficult making the muscles in the colon thicken to adapt to the stressful situation. With more and more pressure parts of the bowel wall can blow out causing diverticular pouches. When these pouches become infected and inflamed it causes diverticulitis.
It is very common in people over the age of 60 with about half of them have the disease. Symptoms include pain, nausea, faver, chills, cramping, constipation, vomiting. If the pouches do not heal on their own, surgery is needed. A high-fiber diet, probiotics, glutamine, aloe vera, slippery elm bark, and evening primrose oil is recommended for healing.