Ulcerative colitis is one of the types of inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation of the internal cells that line the large intestine (also called the colon).
Cause of Ulcerative Colitis
The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is not known, but the possible cause of UC is over activation of the immune system. In UC, the immune cells may not respond to bacteria in a normal way and mistakenly attacks the large intestines. Other factors that may cause ulcerative colitis are genetic, environmental and age factors.
Sign and Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis may differ over different times among different people. Its symptoms also depend upon the part of the large intestine, which is affected and on the extent of inflammation.
A. Some Common Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis are
- Blood in stools
- Abdominal pain
- Increased abdominal sounds
- Gas formation
- Rectal pain
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
Some Other Symptoms may Develop When Ulcerative Colitis affects other Parts of the Body
- Joint pain and swelling
- Skin problems
- Mouth sores
- Eye inflammation
Some people experience all symptoms. Others may have one or two of these above-mentioned symptoms. In some cases, the symptoms may disappear at the beginning but the patients living with UC may regain symptoms after weeks, months, or years.
B. Symptoms of UC Depending Upon its Extent of Severity
The extent of the severity of ulcerative colitis (UC) may vary from mild to moderate and from moderate to severe or from severe to very severe. Depending upon the severity of Ulcerative colitis, its symptoms may include loose stool, abdominal pain, bloody stool, etc. During its diagnosis, the physician checks the above symptoms to measure the severity of the disease.
The severity of the disorder may be mild if the patient experience
- Up to 4 loose stools per day
- The blood may or may not come in stools
- Mild abdominal pain
The severity of the disorder may be moderate if the patient experience
- 4-6 loose stools per day
- The blood may come in stools
- Moderate abdominal pain
Ulcerative colitis may be severe if the patient experience More than 6 loose stools per day along with some amount of blood in it.
- Rapid heart rate
4. Very Severe (Fulminant)
The disorder may be very severe if the patient experience
- More than 10 loose stools per day
- Constant blood in stools along with mucus (patient may require a blood transfusion)
- Abdominal distention
- Fatal complications may be possible.
C. Early Symptoms When You Need to See a Doctor
If ulcerative colitis is not treated in time, it becomes more serious and a lifetime problem. Therefore, it is better if you see your doctor with mild or early symptoms, if you experience some changes in bowel habits or some symptoms that are abnormal then you must visit a doctor for the early diagnosis of disease.
Some early signs and symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in the stool
- Continuous diarrhea that disturbs your sleep
- An indefinable fever continuing more than a day or two
D. Types of UC Based on Which Symptoms
There are four types of UC depending on the location of the large intestine that is affected and this affected location can determine the symptoms that occur to the patient. On the basis of these symptoms Ulcerative colitis is of following types:
1. Ulcerative Proctitis
The inflammation occurs in the rectum which results in rectal bleeding, rectal pain and a feeling of urgency.
Inflammation occurs in the rectum and sigmoid colon (the lower end of the colon). It results in bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps, and tenesmus (a continual feeling to evacuate stools).
3. Left-Sided Colitis
The rectum gets affected and inflammation extends to the sigmoid and descending colon. It results in bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps on the left side and weight loss.
The entire colon gets affected and results in bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, and cramps, fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss.
E. Ulcerative Colitis can also Affect the Other Parts of the Body Outside the Large Intestine
Ulcerative colitis is the inflammation in the inner lining of the large intestine but it can also affect the other parts of the body such as:
Inflammation of eyes can occur in the patient of Ulcerative colitis.
- Glaucoma and cataracts
- Inflammation of the iris
- Light sensitivity
- Decreased vision
Skin problems may also occur in patients with ulcerative colitis. The major skin problems include:
1) Pyoderma Gangrenosum: Painful ulcerations found in sites of injury
- Due to bowel disease
- Scars on the skin
2) Erythema Nodosum: Painful grown, purple or violet buds usually develops on the legs or limbs:
- Due to bowel disease
- Bruises on the skin
3. Joint Pains
Patients with ulcerative colitis can also experience joint pains. The joint problems that may occur in UC patient are:
- Peripheral Arthropathy
- Axial Arthropathy
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- The patients of ulcerative colitis patients are at higher risk for blood clots in the vessels known as a thromboembolism.
- The blood clots commonly occur in the legs, with symptoms such as pain, redness or swelling or in the lungs, with symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain. However, blood clots can happen in any vessel.
5. Oral Cavity
- Lesions in the mouth
- Painful superficial ulcers within the oral cavity continuing for 7-10 days
- Yeast or fungal infection of the mouth
- Infection can spread into the esophagus, resulting in pain and swallowing
So, these are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis depending upon its severity i.e. from mild to severe. Therefore it is important to treat this disease during its initial stage otherwise it will become a long-lasting and life-threatening problem.
Many people think that there is no permanent cure for ulcerative colitis. This belief comes from the modern system of medicine. Modern medicines only alleviate symptoms of UC but do not cure them permanently or doctors of modern medicine systems may also recommend surgery. But if you want to change your perception about this disease, change your method of treatment and go for Ayurvedic treatment. Yes, It is true that Ayurveda provides herbs and proper dietary guidelines that not only reduce the symptoms but also treat disease in an effective manner. Planet Ayurveda offers the best herbal products for treating ulcerative colitis that is prepared by standardized extracts of herbs. All the products are 100% authentic and vegetarian and do not contain any type of artificial coloring, flavoring or sweetening agent.