Ulcerative Colitis

Illinois Gastroenterology Group -  - Gastroenterology

Illinois Gastroenterology Group

Gastroenterology located in Arlington Heights, IL & Elk Grove Village, IL

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, the two major inflammatory bowel diseases, combine to affect at least 3 million Americans today. If you suffer from ulcerative colitis, you have inflammation and ulcers in your colon and rectum. This can lead to severe gastrointestinal symptoms that result in a poor quality of life. But the team at Illinois Gastroenterology Group in Elk Grove and Arlington Heights, Illinois, offers effective treatments to help you feel like yourself again. Book your appointment online or by phone now.

Ulcerative Colitis Q & A

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease in which you develop inflammation and ulcers in the innermost lining of your colon and rectum. 

This causes gastrointestinal symptoms like abdominal pain and cramping. In most cases, ulcerative colitis develops slowly and then recur in bouts.

What are the Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis?

Symptoms vary but usually include at least some of the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Diarrhea or bloody diarrhea
  • Pus or blood in the stool
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Anemia

Many ulcerative colitis sufferers also experience tenesmus, sudden strong rectal cramping that makes you feel like you need to have a bowel movement even if you've recently had one.

Symptoms can range from mild to very severe. If you've got mild ulcerative colitis, you likely have mild abdominal pain along with as many as four loose (possibly also bloody) stools a day.

On the other end of the spectrum, very severe ulcerative colitis can cause constant bloody stools, more than 10 loose stools daily, and a distended belly. Most patients fall in the mild-to-moderate range.

How are Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease Different?

The main difference between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease is the area of inflammation.

In ulcerative colitis, only your colon’s inner layer is inflamed. In Crohn's disease, the inflammation could be in your colon but might also develop anywhere else in your digestive tract. Crohn’s disease can affect any layer of your digestive tract, including the innermost layer that ulcerative colitis affects.

With ulcerative colitis, the inflammation in your colon is all through the inner lining. With Crohn's disease, the inflammation is interspersed with healthy (noninflamed) tissue. 

Because symptoms of these two conditions can often be quite similar, only an experienced gastroenterologist can determine which one you have.

How is Ulcerative Colitis Treated?

Treatment typically starts with medication. Anti-inflammatories, immunosuppressants, antibiotics, antidiarrheals, iron supplements, and other medications can all help. Your Illinois Gastroenterology Group specialist will determine which will relieve your symptoms most effectively.

If you have severe ulcerative colitis, you could potentially need surgery like an ileal pouch-anal anastomosis. In this procedure, your surgeon removes your colon and then makes a pouch using the tail of your small intestine. The pouch is routed straight to your anus, which allows for fairly normal bowel movements.

For ulcerative colitis help from caring gastroenterology team, book online now or call the office of Illinois Gastroenterology Group closest to you today.