Ulcerative colitis is a common chronic disease that falls under inflammatory bowel diseases, leading to numerous complications if not managed properly. A wide variety of those who have ulcerative colitis are typically unaware, since the symptoms tend to overlap with common GI issues, making it seem like it is not a major problem.
Ulcerative colitis occurs when your immune system attacks the lining of your colon (large intestine) due to an overactive response, leading to inflammation and ulcers. The direct cause of this disease is not identified, however there are risk factors that attribute to it which include age and family history, typically occurring before the age of 30 while also increasing the chances of diagnosis if a close relative is diagnosed as well.
Additionally, diagnosing ulcerative colitis is one of the biggest issues to tackle, considering that patients don’t recognize the symptoms therefore they usually don’t visit a medical expert.
There are various symptoms of ulcerative colitis with some of the most common being diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and anemia. It is important to visit a medical expert if these symptoms don’t go away. To diagnose a patient, doctors first rule out the possibility of any other condition and then run tests and assessments to further investigate the severity.
Initially, those who are diagnosed with it must make lifestyle changes, specifically when it comes to their diet to help control the symptoms. Stress also plays a big role in causing flareups, making it important to take precautions to avoid stressful situations. Moreover, medication has an impact in management and avoiding flare ups, leading to an enhanced quality of life.
“Essentially, the key to controlling the symptoms and managing UC is to stay consistent with the suitable lifestyle adjustments and medication, even if the symptoms are mild. It is important to remember that treatment of UC is lifelong, and once not managed properly the symptoms and inflammation will flare up again.” – Dr. Filippos Georgopoulos, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai
If the diet plan and medication does not show effective results and the disease progresses, then surgery would be the alternative option to permanently cure the disease. There are different surgeries available for ulcerative colitis with the most common being proctocolectomy. In this procedure, both the colon and rectum are removed to help treat ulcerative colitis.
“A multi-disciplinary approach is an effective method to tackling ulcerative colitis. Patients must receive a customized treatment plan to adjust to their needs as well as give them the best possible outcomes.” – Dr. Filippos Georgopoulos, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai
Following the treatment plan is the most effective method in successfully managing UC in addition to ensuring that the patient receives a comprehensive and integrated approach.
Dr. Filippos Georgopoulos is a Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai with more than 10 years of experience. Additionally, he is responsible for the Special Clinical Gastroenterology and Interventional Endoscopy Services. He has published several papers in peer review journals and chapter books and has a fellowship from the European Board of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.