Ulcerative Colitis in Denver, CO
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What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is an individual part of a larger grouping of conditions called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The condition results in irritating inflammation and ulceration within your gastrointestinal (GI) system, most often in the large intestine. Ulcerative colitis is distinct from Crohn's disease (the alternate type of IBD), as it is restricted only to one's colon. Crohn's disease, on the other hand, is typically experienced at the end of the small intestine and beginning of the colon but can impact any part of the GI tract from the anus to the mouth. Also, ulcerative colitis impacts only the inner lining of the colon, whereas Crohn’s disease can affect the entirety of the intestinal wall.
Those who have the challenges of suffering from ulcerative colitis are many times forced to bear painful gastrointestinal troubles which interfere with their day-to-day lives. At Denver Digestive Health Specialists, our board-certified gastroenterologists regularly diagnose and provide treatment for ulcerative colitis, and create working relationships with people to assist in providing relief from the symptoms it causes. To get help for ulcerative colitis in Denver, CO, we implore you to reach out to our facility today.
Are there multiple types of ulcerative colitis?
There exist quite a few different classifications of ulcerative colitis, which are usually classified by location:
Ulcerative proctitis: The swelling of one's colon is contained within a person's rectum and is usually the least severe type of ulcerative colitis. A tell-tale indication of ulcerative proctitis is bleeding from the rectum.
Left-sided colitis: Inflammation is more widely found through more of the colon and can involve more than the rectum but is confined to all or a portion of the sigmoid and descending colon. It often results in troubling symptoms, including bloody diarrhea and unplanned loss of weight.
Pancolitis: This condition is also known as extensive colitis and could involve the entirety of the colon. Symptoms might include serious bloody diarrhea, extreme abdominal pain, and fatigue.
Acute severe ulcerative colitis: This is a rare variety of ulcerative colitis which affects the entire colon. Its symptoms can include serious pain and the inability to eat. The condition often demands hospitalization and carries a much greater risk of surgery.
What causes ulcerative colitis?
The exact cause of ulcerative colitis continues to be unknown. However, some specific factors consistently increase the onset of ulcerative colitis and its related challenges.
- Genetics: A person might inherit genetic material from their parents, which heightens one's risk of developing ulcerative colitis.
- Immune system: It is presumed that internal bacteria or viruses will initiate the onset of ulcerative colitis. When a virus or bacteria enters the digestive tract, your body calls upon your immune system to fight the virus or bacteria. Anytime this occurs, your body sends white blood cells to the colon, which end up attacking non-problematic tissue and cells. Because of this, your colon, or large intestine is inflamed.
Are there risk factors for ulcerative colitis?
- A portion of the complicating factors associated with having ulcerative colitis may include:
- Age: Ulcerative colitis often develops prior to the age of 30.
- Family history: If a family member has ulcerative colitis, you may have an elevated risk of suffering from this disease.
- Race or ethnicity: People of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and Caucasians appear to be at an increased risk of developing ulcerative colitis, but it may affect anyone.
What are the common symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
- Many symptoms common to ulcerative colitis manifest slowly and vary from subtle to overwhelming. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis commonly include:
- Sores in the mouth
- Normal menstrual cycle disruption
- Blood in the stool
- Pain in the rectum
- Diarrhea with pus or blood
- Pain in the abdomen
- Stomach cramps
- Sudden loss of weight
- Drainage or pain near or around the anus
In the event you ever become aware of bloody stool, we implore you to make contact with your provider or a specialist in Denver, CO at once. You should see a gastroenterologist should you suffer from any of the aforementioned symptoms or a combination of symptoms on a persistent basis. The board-certified gastroenterologists at Denver Digestive Health Specialists can provide experienced care for ulcerative colitis and can help treat and manage these symptoms.
How is ulcerative colitis treated?
The main goals of ulcerative colitis treatments at Denver Digestive Health Specialists are to manage the inflammation that instigates the symptoms and then achieve remission of the condition. Subsequent treatment includes regular cancer screenings, considering that suffering from ulcerative colitis puts you at an elevated risk for developing colon cancer. The main parts of ulcerative colitis treatments are as follows:
Antibiotics: Antibiotics may assist in the destruction of bacteria connected with causing the excessive immune system response that proceeds to inflammation. This is not a mainstay of therapy but might be used in conjunction with other therapies.
Anti-inflammatory drugs: Anti-inflammatory medications used to manage ulcerative colitis are corticosteroids and oral 5-aminosalicylates. Corticosteroids help decrease swelling in your body and can be recommended along with immune system suppressors. Oral 5-aminosalicylates can also work to reduce inflammation in your body.
Additional supplements and medications might be suggested to assist in the control and management of ulcerative colitis difficulties. These could include:
- Shots of vitamin B-12
- Vitamin D and calcium supplementation
- Iron supplements
Long-term anti-inflammatory therapies: These therapies address our body’s irregular immune response to bacteria and viruses. The immunosuppressant medications your Denver, CO gastroenterologist might prescribe include:
Nutrition and diet: Your gastrointestinal provider may recommend a unique food plan to help reduce symptoms and jump-start remission.
Surgery: In serious circumstances, surgical intervention may be needed to excise a part of, or the entirety of, the colon or rectum.
Ulcerative Colitis FAQs
Is ulcerative colitis a curable condition?
Presently, no cure has been identified for this condition. Medication can, however, be used to control ulcerative colitis and its associated symptoms. While it will not cure it, medication intervention can help you achieve and remain in disease remission.
Is ulcerative colitis caused by the food I eat?
A connection between food consumption and an immediate cause of ulcerative colitis has not yet been found. Certain dietary choices, however, have been related to a higher risk of developing ulcerative colitis. These often include foods high in fats, sugar, and refined carbs and diets low in fruits, vegetables, and fiber.
Who can diagnose ulcerative colitis?
It’s likely your GI issues will cause you to visit your primary doctor. If your PCP thinks you may have ulcerative colitis, they might suggest you see a GI specialist, like those at Denver Digestive Health Specialists. It is helpful to visit a doctor who specializes in treating conditions of the digestive tract.
Can anything help me stay in remission from ulcerative colitis?
If you’ve entered remission, you probably will do anything to remain there. Factors to note while you’re in remission include:
- Stress: Stress can cause symptoms to resurface. Getting good sleep, exercising regularly, and learning to manage your stress could help reduce your chances of a flare-up.
- Medications: If you’re experiencing pain or fever, you may need to take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol®) instead of an NSAID (Motrin® or Advil®), as acetaminophen is less likely to exacerbate symptoms. Talk with your healthcare provider to learn more.
- Medication change: If your current medications seem to trigger your GI issues, please contact our team. We may be able to make a change in your medication for one less likely to cause a flare-up.
Find help for ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis has the ability to affect a person's overall enjoyment of life and digestive well-being. With specialized treatment, however, you can take charge of the situation and enhance your quality of life. Regardless of if you are experiencing the initial symptoms or dealing with ulcerative colitis flare-ups post-remission, the GI specialists at Denver Digestive Health Specialists can provide you with individualized care choices to assist you in finding a reprieve. To consult a physician who offers care for ulcerative colitis in Denver, CO, please get in touch with our facility today.
Dr Siegal is absolutely my lifesaver guy!! Have been seeing him for almost 20 years. He is the reason I have had extra years. Thanks Dr. Siegel!! And thanks Michelle for always being able to make me feel so assured. You guys are the best of all!! Same as always!! He's awesome!!
Dr. Wolfe made a procedure that no one likes very easy. Dr. Wolfe and her whole team (from check-in to check out), made me feel at ease, as well as made sure I was comfortable the whole time. What I was worried would be scary, was made easy. I am super impressed. Thank you everyone.
Very nice and friendly. Great doctor and experience.Dr Fishman is very personable and delightful.
Dr. Miller is excellent. He explains your condition clearly and answers all your questions patiently and fully. I highly recommend him.
Treated so very well. Much respect shown. And Dr. Siegel is absolutely the best. I waited till I got the right insurance back to see him again. His memory is fantastic.