Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes long-lasting inflammation in part of your digestive tract.
Like Crohn's disease, another common IBD, ulcerative colitis can be debilitating and sometimes can lead to life-threatening complications. Because ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition, symptoms usually develop over time, rather than suddenly.
Ulcerative colitis usually affects only the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum. It occurs only through continuous stretches of your colon, unlike Crohn's disease, which occurs anywhere in the digestive tract and often spreads deeply into the affected tissues.
Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation and ulcers in your intestine & it usually affects one continuous section of the inner lining of the colon beginning with the rectum.
No one is quite sure what triggers ulcerative colitis, but there's a consensus as to what doesn't. Researchers no longer believe that stress is the main cause, although stress can often aggravate symptoms. Instead, current thinking focuses on the following possibilities:
- Immune system. Some scientists think a virus or bacterium may trigger ulcerative colitis. The digestive tract becomes inflamed when your immune system tries to fight off the invading microorganism (pathogen). It's also possible that inflammation may stem from an autoimmune reaction in which your body mounts an immune response even though no pathogen is present.
- Heredity. Because you're more likely to develop ulcerative colitis if you have a parent or sibling with the disease, scientists suspect that genetic makeup may play a contributing role. However, most people who have ulcerative colitis don't have a family history of this disorder.
Ulcerative colitis symptoms can vary, depending on the severity of inflammation and where it occurs. For these reasons, doctors often classify ulcerative colitis according to its location. Here are the signs and symptoms that may accompany ulcerative colitis, depending on its classification:
Common signs and symptoms of chronic sinusitis with nasal polyps include:
- Ulcerative proctitis. In this form of ulcerative colitis, inflammation is confined to the area closest to the anus (rectum), and for some people, rectal bleeding may be the only sign of the disease. Others may have rectal pain and a feeling of urgency. This form of ulcerative colitis tends to be the mildest.
- Proctosigmoiditis. This form involves the rectum and the lower end of the colon, known as the sigmoid colon. Bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps and pain, and an inability to move the bowels in spite of the urge to do so (tenesmus) are common problems associated with this form of the disease.
- Left-sided colitis. As the name suggests, inflammation extends from the rectum up through the sigmoid and descending colon, which are located in the upper left part of the abdomen. Signs and symptoms include bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and pain on the left side, and unintended weight loss.
- Pancolitis. Affecting more than the left colon and often the entire colon, pancolitis causes bouts of bloody diarrhea that may be severe, abdominal cramps and pain, fatigue, and significant weight loss.
- Fulminant colitis. This rare, life-threatening form of colitis affects the entire colon and causes severe pain, profuse diarrhea and, sometimes, dehydration and shock. People with fulminant colitis are at risk of serious complications, including colon rupture and toxic megacolon, a condition that causes the colon to rapidly expand.
The course of ulcerative colitis varies, with periods of acute illness often alternating with periods of remission. But over time, the severity of the disease usually remains the same.
Possible complications of ulcerative colitis include:
- Severe bleeding
- Severe dehydration
- Kidney stones
- Inflammation of your skin, joints and eyes
- A rapidly swelling colon (toxic megacolon)
- A hole in the colon (perforated colon)
- Liver disease (rare)
- An increased risk of colon cancer
The homeopathic treatment for Ulcerative Colitis on the concept of immuno-correction, using medicines, which are supposed to correct the immune mechanism which is responsible for the formation of ulcerations in the colon. Homeopathy aims at immuno-modulation using the medicines, which are also capable of addressing the genetic predisposition, helping the disease process at a deeper level.
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