Is Ulcerative Colitis A Genetic Disease
Nearly 15% of those with Ulcerative Colitis have a first degree relative who also suffers from the condition. In identical twins, the rate of UC is about 16%, whereas in non-identical twins that number drops to 4%.
The exact genes are yet to be determined, but the following highlights some of the newest research on genetics and Ulcerative Colitis:
- A total of163 at-risk genes/loci have been identified in UC. A large study of 29,838 IBD patients recently identified three new loci in association with inflammatory bowel disease: NOD2, MHC, and MST1 3p21.
- IL-13 is the main interleukin responsible for the inflammation and chronic symptoms of UC. It causes epithelial barrier damage, reduces the speed of mucosal repair, and contributes to alterations of the tight junctions in the gut. The addition of IL-13 to cell cultures increases the flux of large molecules such as mannitol and lactulose and also affects the speed of mucosal repair by 30%.
- IL-10 is an anti-inflammatory cytokine which has a positive effect on UC. It inhibits the production of certain players that cause inflammation and the inactivation of IL-10 was shown to cause chronic ileocolitis in mice, indicating a protective role within the mucosal layer.
So, what does this all mean?
Genetics certainly play a role when it comes to UC, but genetics alone arenât enough to explain why IBD has jumped from 2 million people in 1999 to over the 3 million mark weâre seeing today.
Dietary And Lifestyle Modifications
As most nutrients are absorbed higher up in the digestive tract, those with ulcerative colitis generally do not have nutrient deficiencies however, other factors might influence your nutritional state. Disease symptoms may cause food avoidance, leading to food choices that might not provide a balanced diet. If bleeding is excessive, problems such as anemia may occur, and modifications to the diet will be necessary to compensate for this.
Generally, better overall nutrition provides the body with the means to heal itself, but research and clinical experience show that diet changes alone cannot manage this disease. Depending on the extent and location of inflammation, you may have to follow a special diet, including supplementation. It is important to follow Canadas Food Guide, but this is not always easy for individuals with ulcerative colitis. We encourage you to consult a registered dietitian, who can help set up an effective, personalized nutrition plan by addressing disease-specific deficiencies and your sensitive digestive tract. Some foods may irritate the bowel and increase symptoms even though they do not worsen the disease.
In more severe cases, it might be necessary to allow the bowel time to rest and heal. Specialized diets, easy to digest meal substitutes , and fasting with intravenous feeding can achieve incremental degrees of bowel rest.
Ulcerative Colitis Risk Factors
Most people with UC dont have a family history of the condition. However, about 12 percent of people with UC do have a family member with IBD, according to research from 2014.
UC can develop in a person of any race, but its more common in white people. If youre of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, you have a greater chance of developing the condition than most other groups.
Young people with IBD may also be dealing with acne at the same time. Some older studies have suggested a possible link between the use of the cystic acne medication isotretinoin and UC. However, newer research has yet to find a definitive causal relationship.
Theres no solid evidence indicating that your diet affects whether you develop UC. You may find that certain foods and drinks aggravate your symptoms when you have a flare-up, though.
Practices that may help include:
- drinking small amounts of water throughout the day
- eating smaller meals throughout the day
- limiting your intake of high fiber foods
- avoiding fatty foods
- lowering your intake of milk if youre lactose intolerant
Also, ask a doctor if you should take a multivitamin.
Read Also: Can Stomach Ulcers Cause Blood In Your Stool
The Difference Between Ulcerative Colitis And Crohn’s Disease
- Ulcerative colitis only affects the large bowel , and inflammation is only in the surface layers of the bowel lining. It causes ulcers to form in the lining of the bowel.
- Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus , but usually just the last section of the small bowel and/or the colon. Inflammation can extend into the entire thickness of the bowel wall.
What Kind Of Doctor Diagnoses And Treats Colitis
Most often colitis is treated by a primary health care provider or internal-medicine specialist, especially when the colitis is first diagnosed and the cause is uncertain. Once the cause is found, that health care provider may be the only person needed to continue care. Should there be a need for further investigation and diagnostic testing, specialists may be consulted, such as a gastroenterologist. If an infection is the cause of colitis, an infectious-disease specialist may be consulted. In some cases, other specialists may be involved in treatment, such as surgeons and interventional radiologists.
Read Also: Compression For Venous Leg Ulcers
Are There Any Special Dietary Requirements For Persons With Ulcerative Colitis
Although it seems plausible that a specialized diet might benefit patients with ulcerative colitis, there is actually no evidence to support treatment with dietary modification. Despite extensive research, no diet has been found to slow progression, treat, or cure the disease. It is recommended that patients stay on a balanced, healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, lean meats, beans, fish, eggs, nuts. Patients should also try to limit foods with saturated fatshigh cholesterol. During flare-ups, patients should continue to eat as tolerated. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America recommends a bland diet with soft food during a flare including hot cereals, boiled eggs, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, canned or cooked vegetables to minimize discomfort.
What Are The Symptoms Of Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis symptoms often get worse over time. In the beginning, you may notice:
- Diarrhea or urgent bowel movements.
- Abdominal cramping.
- Liver disease.
- Loss of fluids and nutrients.
Symptoms are similar in pediatric ulcerative colitis and may also include delayed or poor growth. Some ulcerative colitis symptoms in children can mimic other conditions, so it is important to report all symptoms to your pediatrician.
Also Check: Best Foods To Eat If You Have An Ulcer
Extraintestinal Manifestations And Complications
UC is characterized by immune dysregulation and systemic inflammation, which may result in symptoms and complications outside the colon. Commonly affected organs include: eyes, joints, skin, and liver. The frequency of such extraintestinal manifestations has been reported as between 6 and 47%.
UC may affect the mouth. About 8% of individuals with UC develop oral manifestations. The two most common oral manifestations are aphthous stomatitis and angular cheilitis. Aphthous stomatitis is characterized by ulcers in the mouth, which are benign, noncontagious and often recurrent. Angular chelitis is characterized by redness at the corners of the mouth, which may include painful sores or breaks in the skin. Very rarely, benign pustules may occur in the mouth .
UC may affect the eyes. Inflammation may occur in the interior portion of the eye, leading to uveitis and iritis. Uveitis can cause blurred vision and eye pain, especially when exposed to light . Untreated, uveitis can lead to permanent vision loss. Inflammation may also involve the white part of the eye or the overlying connective tissue , causing conditions called scleritis and episcleritis. Uveitis and iritis are more commonly associated with ulcerative colitis, whereas episcleritis is more commonly associated with Crohn’s disease.
When Is Surgery For Uc Necessary
Medication is often the first treatment option. But there are cases when people with UC might require surgery.
Surgery in ulcerative colitis usually involves removal of the colon and rectum. This is called a proctocolectomy, which might include:
- Total proctocolectomy with end ileostomy: A total proctocolectomy is when the anus is surgically removed in addition to the colon and rectum. An ileostomy is a surgical procedure that creates a hole in the abdomen through which solid waste is emptied into a pouch.
- Proctocolectomy with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis : In this procedure, the colon and the rectum are removed, but the anus and anal sphincter muscles are preserved. The ileum is fashioned into a J-, S-, or W-shaped pouch. This eliminates the need to wear a permanent external bag.
Its important to keep in mind that UC can still cause symptoms after surgeryso it’s essential to continue to work with your doctor to keep up with the management of your disease. If you have treatment that works for you, its possible to achieve remission without surgery.
When it comes to people with ulcerative colitis, in a given year:
of people with ulcerative colitis have symptoms under control
experience mild disease activity
experience moderate disease activity
experience severe disease
The longer a person with UC maintains symptom control, the less likely he or she is to experience a relapse, or flare-up, in the following year.
Read Also: How To Treat Rodent Ulcers In Cats At Home
What Should I Ask My Doctor
If you have ulcerative colitis, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- How much of my large intestine is affected?
- What risks or side effects can I expect from the medication?
- Should I change my diet?
- Will ulcerative colitis affect my ability to get pregnant?
- What can I do at home to manage my symptoms?
- What are my surgical options?
How Does Pediatric Ulcerative Colitis Affect My Childs Mental/emotional Health
Like many conditions, ulcerative colitis can have a negative psychological effect, especially on children. They can experience physical, emotional, social and family problems. Because of the medications and/or general stress from the situation, your child may experience:
- Mood swings.
- Worry about appearance and physical stamina.
- Vulnerability because their body doesnt function normally.
- Poor concentration.
- Misunderstandings with friends and family.
Children need mutual support from all family members. Its helpful for the entire family to learn about the disease and try to be empathetic. Seek out a psychiatrist and therapist to help your child manage such challenges of their ulcerative colitis.
Read Also: Do Probiotics Help Stomach Ulcers
Avoid Foods That May Exacerbate Uc Symptoms
Because a healthy diet is a cornerstone for overall health, its no surprise that it tops Sniders list of natural remedies for ulcerative colitis. Diet is a foundational treatment for patients with ulcerative colitis, he says, adding that there’s often a dietary component to the disease.
According to a review published in October 2014 in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, people who reported a diet high in fats were more likely to have a relapse of UC. Other studies highlighted in the paper suggested avoiding greasy foods, dairy products, caffeine, and raw fruits and vegetables if you have ulcerative colitis. But the review notes that theres no one-size-fits-all diet for UC, so youll have to figure out what works best for you through trial and error.
It helps to keep a food diary to discover which foods are best for you. Snider says it can’t hurt to limit certain foods, and then if your symptoms improve according to your symptom diary, to continue doing so. He also notes that it’s worthwhile to avoid sugar because its effect on the pancreas hinders the output of anti-inflammatory enzymes.
Ulcerative Colitis And Colonoscopy
Doctors can use a colonoscopy to diagnose UC or determine the severity of the condition.
Before the procedure, a doctor will likely instruct you to reduce solid foods and switch to a liquid-only diet. Then youll fast for a period of time before the procedure.
Typical colonoscopy prep involves taking a laxative the evening before the procedure, too. This helps eliminate any waste still in the colon and rectum. Doctors can examine a clean colon more easily.
During the procedure, youll lie on your side. Your doctor will give you a sedative to help you relax and prevent any discomfort.
Once the medication takes effect, the doctor will insert a colonoscope into your anus. This device is long and flexible so it can move easily through your GI tract. The colonoscope also has a camera attached so your doctor can see inside the colon.
During the exam, the doctor will look for signs of inflammation and check for precancerous growth called polyps. The doctor may also perform a biopsy. The tissue can be sent to a laboratory for further examination.
If youve been diagnosed with UC, a doctor may conduct periodic colonoscopies to monitor inflammation, damage to your intestines, and healing progress.
These symptoms are sometimes associated with UC complications.
If you havent been diagnosed with UC, see a doctor if you experience multiple symptoms of the condition. They can help determine whether you may have UC or another bowel disease.
Read Also: Pressure Ulcer Wound Care Dressings
Living With Ulcerative Colitis
With careful management, most people with UC are able to enjoy life, including work, travel, recreation, sex and having children.
To keep healthy, consider:
- eating a nutritious diet to help with healing and reduce fatigue
- keeping a food diary to check if there are any foods that make your symptoms worse during a flare-up
- asking your doctor about supplements if you think you may be malnourished
- exercising regularly to lift your mood and help relieve stress
- learning some relaxation techniques to help manage stress
How Is The Disease Diagnosed
Physicians make the diagnosis after taking a careful patient history, examining the patient and ordering a series of tests. The first goal of these tests is to make sure that an infection is not causing the diarrhea. Stool specimens are taken, blood tests are analyzed and a barium enema X-ray of the colon may be ordered if the patient is not too sick. The barium shows up white on the X-ray, providing a detailed picture of the colon. Finally, the patient may have a colon evaluation through a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy.
In a sigmoidoscopy, the doctor passes a flexible instrument into the rectum and lower colon. The doctor then can see how much inflammation is in those areas. A total colonoscopy is similar, but it looks at the entire colon to detect bleeding, inflammation or ulcers on the wall. During these procedures, the physician usually takes a sample called a biopsy.
Also Check: How To Cure Tongue Ulcer
Complications Of Ulcerative Colitis
UC increases your risk of developing colon cancer. The longer you have the disease, the higher your risk of this cancer.
Because of this increased risk, your doctor will perform a colonoscopy and check for cancer when you receive your diagnosis.
Repeat screenings are recommended thereafter, according to the American Cancer Society. Regular screenings help lower your risk of colon cancer. Follow-up screenings can detect precancerous cells early.
Other complications of UC include:
- thickening of the intestinal wall
- intestinal bleeding
Consider Therapy To Help Manage Stress And Pain
Working with a therapist on certain mind-body techniques can help you control ulcerative colitis symptoms.
Cognitive behavioral therapy and a technique called biofeedback may be useful, as these processes teach skills to cope with stress and pain. In CBT, you learn to recognize and change behaviors and emotions that affect you physically. According to an article in Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, CBT can ease abdominal pain for some people. Biofeedback will teach you how to identify and control some bodily processes, such as heart rate or tension in your muscles, and it can be effective in helping manage chronic pain.
Read Also: How Do You Check For Ulcers
Diet For Colon Ulcer Cure: Its Symptoms Diagnosis And Remedies
The last part of the digestive tract is called colon. Its main function is to extract water from the intestinal content, storage of feces and its evacuation at controlled interval. Colon together with rectum and anal canal forms large intestine. In humans, colon is divided into four parts, ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon and sigmoid colon.
Many Americans are known to suffer from colon ulcer. Medically it is also called ulcerative colitis. In ulcerative colitis, there are small ulcers present in the inner lining of the colon. Abdominal pain, diarrhea mixed with blood is usual symptom when ulcer or ulcers are present in colon.
Ulcerative colitis is considered as an autoimmune disease. Ulcers in colon are more prevalent in both sexes between 15 to 40 years. It is necessary to seek medical advice when the patient doubts the symptoms are that of colon ulcer. To make it easier, let us know the symptoms of colon ulcer.
Whats The Difference Between Ulcerative Colitis And Colitis
Colitis refers to inflammation of the inner lining of the colon. Colitis causes symptoms such as abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, and diarrhea.
An inflamed colon can be caused by several conditions. UC is one possible cause. Other possible causes of colitis include:
- Crohns disease
- an allergic reaction
To diagnose the cause of colitis, a doctor will order a series of tests. These tests will help them understand what other symptoms youre experience and rule out conditions based on what youre not experiencing.
Treatment for colitis will depend on the underlying cause and other symptoms you have.
Cure : Supplements & Home Remedies For Stomach Ulcer
Home remedies and supplements, in this case, go hand in hand. Home remedies could provide instant relief from the pain and the symptoms. However, using the supplements on a long term basis could not only cure your stomach ulcer, but it could also promote digestive health, thereby preventing the occurrence of an ulcer.