Ulcerative Colitis in Hattiesburg, MS

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Ulcerative colitis is a piece of a more expansive group of conditions called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The condition causes painful inflammation and ulcerations within one's gastrointestinal (GI) system, most often the large intestine. Ulcerative colitis is different from Crohn's disease (the other form of IBD) because it is restricted only to the colon. Crohn's disease, meanwhile, is most commonly found at the end of the small bowel and at the beginning of the colon but can involve any portion of the gastrointestinal system anywhere from the mouth to the anus. In addition, ulcerative colitis involves only the colon's inner lining, whereas Crohn's disease could impact the whole of the bowel wall.

Patients who have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis many times deal with painful gastrointestinal symptoms that interfere with their everyday lives. At Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC, our board-certified GI health providers regularly diagnose and provide treatment for ulcerative colitis and collaborate with people to help provide a reprieve from the symptoms it causes. If you need help with ulcerative colitis in Hattiesburg, MS, we invite you to contact one of our offices as soon as possible.

There are a few unique varieties of ulcerative colitis that are typically organized by location:

Ulcerative proctitis: This is usually the least severe type of ulcerative colitis, with inflammation of the colon being confined to the rectum. A commonly recognized indication of ulcerative proctitis is bleeding from the rectum.

Left-sided colitis: Swelling is more widely found throughout the colon and could impact areas beyond the rectum but is limited to all or a portion of the sigmoid and descending colon. This form often results in troubling symptoms, including diarrhea containing blood and unplanned loss of weight.

Pancolitis: This type of ulcerative colitis is also known as extensive colitis and might involve the entirety of the colon. Symptoms may include extreme bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, and tiredness.

Acute severe ulcerative colitis: This is a more unusual type of ulcerative colitis that affects the whole of the colon. Its symptoms could include extreme pain and the inability to eat. This condition usually demands hospitalization and is known to have a much greater likelihood of surgery.

The specific reason for the development of ulcerative colitis is still unknown. However, we know some factors that consistently heighten the risk of ulcerative colitis and its related challenges.

  • Genetics: An individual might inherit genes from one or both of their parents that increase the chance of developing ulcerative colitis.
  • Immune system: It is presumed that viruses or internal bacteria could trigger the occurrence of ulcerative colitis. In the event that a virus or bacteria shows up in your digestive tract, the body enlists your immune system to defend against the intruder. Anytime this occurs, the body directs white blood cells to the colon, in which case those cells could attack healthy cells and tissue. As a result, your large intestine can become inflamed.

Some of the complicating factors associated with an elevated risk of ulcerative colitis include:

  • Ethnicity or race: Caucasians and people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent appear to be at a higher chance of suffering from ulcerative colitis. However, the condition can affect any race.
  • Age: Ulcerative colitis often presents prior to the age of 30.
  • Family history: If a relative has ulcerative colitis, you have an increased chance of developing this disease.

The majority of symptoms common to ulcerative colitis manifest gradually and can vary from mild to severe. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis commonly include:

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Pain or drainage around or near the anus
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever
  • Pain in the rectum
  • Diarrhea with pus or blood
  • Constipation
  • Bloody stool
  • Loss of normal menstrual cycle
  • Pain in the abdomen

If you ever become aware of blood in your stool, we urge you to reach out to your physician or another specialist in Hattiesburg, MS right away. You should see a gastroenterologist should you suffer from any of the above symptoms or a combination of symptoms on a persistent basis. The board-certified gastroenterologists at Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC can provide skilled care for ulcerative colitis and can help treat and manage these symptoms.

The ultimate objectives of ulcerative colitis treatments at Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC are to control the inflammation that instigates your symptoms and then force the disorder into remission. Continuing treatment includes screening for cancer, as having ulcerative colitis positions you at greater risk for a diagnosis of colon cancer. The main aspects of ulcerative colitis treatments are listed below:

Antibiotics: Antibiotics can help destroy bacteria connected with causing the unusual immune system reflex that creates swelling. This is not a mainstay of therapy but might be used in collaboration with additional therapies.

Anti-inflammatory drugs: Corticosteroids and oral 5-aminosalicylates are anti-inflammatory medications commonly used in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. Corticosteroids help decrease swelling in the body and may be recommended in conjunction with immune system suppressants. Oral 5-aminosalicylates can also work to reduce swelling in your body.

Additional medications and supplements might be recommended to control and manage ulcerative colitis symptoms. These may include:

  • Shots of vitamin B-12
  • Iron supplementation
  • Vitamin D and calcium supplements
  • Anti-diarrheals

Long-term anti-inflammatory therapies: These treatments help manage the body's abnormal immune response to viruses and bacteria. The immunosuppressant medications your Hattiesburg, MS gastroenterologist might prescribe include:

  • Tofacitinib
  • Vedolizumab
  • Azathioprine
  • Natalizumab
  • Ustekinumab
  • Methotrexate
  • Infliximab
  • Certolizumab
  • Adalimumab

Diet and Nutrition: Your GI practitioner may recommend a unique diet to help reduce symptoms and induce remission.

Surgery: In severe situations, surgery may be required to excise a part of, or the complete, colon or rectum.

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Ulcerative colitis can take a toll on a person's overarching comfort and digestive health. With specialized care, however, you can take charge of the situation and better your quality of life. Whether you are in the midst of the initial symptoms or managing ulcerative colitis flare-ups after remission, the GI specialists at Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC can provide you with individualized treatment options to help you find a reprieve. To find a provider who offers care for ulcerative colitis in Hattiesburg, MS, please get in touch with one of our facilities as soon as possible.

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