Getting The Right Diagnosis
Your doctor will ask about the type and timing of your symptoms. Theyâll probably feel your belly to see if itâs tender. Let them know about any medications that you take and if anyone in your family has ever had IBD or other digestive issues.
Everything you tell your doctor gives them clues about other tests you might need, such as:
Stool samples and bloodwork. Your poop and blood can reveal signs of infection or inflammation. Blood tests can also show low levels of iron. Thatâs called anemia. It can happen when colitis causes a lot of bleeding in your colon.
Imaging. Your doctor may take pictures inside your colon or rectum. They might use a special liquid called barium for some tests. Thatâs a substance thatâll coat your colon to help it show up better on X-rays.
You may also need:
- Magnetic resonance imaging scans
- Computed tomography scans
Endoscopic tests. An endoscope is a camera attached to a thin, bendy tube. Your doctor can use it to look at your lower colon and rectum or entire colon .
Tissue biopsy. Your doctor may remove some tissue during a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. A lab technician will use a microscope to check for signs of inflammation or other abnormal cells.
Skin Joint Or Eye Problems
When you have UC, the lining of your large intestine gets inflamed and sets off your symptoms. For some people, this inflammation also shows up in other body parts during a flare. Experts arent sure why.
You could have symptoms like:
Let your doctor know whenever you get new UC symptoms. That way, they can change your treatment plan if needed.
Ulcerative Colitis Nclex Questions
1. True or False: Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and ulcer formation in the inner lining of the small intestine, specifically the terminal ileum.
2. A patient is admitted with ulcerative colitis. In the physicians notes, it is stated that the patients barium enema results showed the patient has colitis that starts in the rectum and extends into the sigmoid and descending colon. As the nurse, you know that this is what type of ulcerative colitis?
A. Right-sided colitis
C. Ulcerative procotitis
D. Left-sided colitis
3. Youre educating a group of outpatients about signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Which of the following are NOT typical signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis? SELECT-ALL-THAT-APPLY:
A. Rectal Bleeding
E. Extreme Hungry
4. A patient diagnosed with pancolitis is experiencing extreme abdominal distension, pain 10 on 1-10 scale in the abdomen, temperature of 103.6 F, HR 120, and profuse diarrhea. What complication due you suspect the pain is experiencing?
C. Bowel obstruction
D. Toxic megacolon
5. A patient is newly diagnosed with mild ulcerative colitis. What type of anti-inflammatory medication is typically prescribed as first line treatment for this condition?
6. Youre providing education to a patient with severe ulcerative colitis about Adalimumab. Which statement by the patient is CORRECT?
A. Ice cream
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Growth And Development Problems For Children
You can get ulcerative colitis at any age, but its more common among 15- to 30-year-olds. A child with UC may:
- Red or discolored
Talk to your doctor right away if youre worried that you might have DVT. Its possible for a deep-vein blood clot to break loose and get stuck in a lung artery. If that happens, its an emergency called a pulmonary embolism . You could have symptoms like shortness of breath, sharp chest pain, and a cough with or without blood. Call 911 if you have these signs.
Doctors can treat DVT and pulmonary embolisms with medications, a filter through a vein that removes the clot, or surgery.
You could be more likely to get DVT or PE if you:
- Have ulcerative colitis that flares often or affects a large amount of your colon.
- Get surgery for severe ulcerative colitis.
Some studies also link certain ulcerative colitis meds, like steroids or tofacitinib, to DVT and PE.
What Happens During Ulcerative Colitis
The cause of ulcerative colitis, which is called pathophysiology, is not well understood. It’s thought that it may be connected to something causing the bacteria and other microbes that normally live in the colon to be out of balance, leading to an immune response and inflammation.
However, there is research underway that has started to uncover some of the reasons why people might develop the disease, including the following.
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Ulcerative Colitis Vs Crohns Disease
Ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease share similar symptoms and they are both types of inflammatory bowel disease , but they are not the same illness and they affect different areas of the GI tract.
- Can affect the entire thickness of the bowel wall
- Only the colon and rectum are affected
- Affects the inner-most lining of the large intestine
- What is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative Colitis Nclex Quiz Questions
This is a quiz that contains NCLEX review questions for ulcerative colitis. As a nurse providing care to a patient with ulcerative colitis, it is important to know the classic signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis, types of ulcerative colitis, medications used to treat the condition, the complications, treatments, and nursing interventions.
In the previous NCLEX review series, I explained about other GI disorders you may be asked about on the NCLEX exam, so be sure to check out those reviews and quizzes as well.
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What Symptoms Do Colitis And Ulcerative Colitis Share
Colitis can cause similar belly and bowel issues no matter the cause. Some symptoms are mild while others are more serious.
General signs of colitis and UC include:
- Stomach cramps that come and go
- Constant belly pain
- Mucus or blood in your poop
- Weight loss without trying
- An urgent need to poop
- A feeling like you didnât get all your poop out
If you have periods, you may have:
- Worsening diarrhea during your period
Follow Up With Your Doctor
You may only need at-home or short-term care for some kinds of colitis. But UC is a condition youâll have for the rest of your life. And it affects everyone in a different way. Youâll need to work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that works for you.
No matter whatâs causing your symptoms, get medical care right away if you have:
- Watery diarrhea for more than a few days
- Heavy, ongoing diarrhea
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Causes Of Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is the result of several factors that are not yet well understood. Abnormal immune response, genetics, microbiome, and environmental factors all contribute to ulcerative colitis.
Research suggests that ulcerative colitis could be triggered by an interaction between a virus or bacterial infection in the colon and the bodys immune response.
Typically, the cells and proteins that make up your immune system protect you from infection.
A normal immune response would cause temporary inflammation to combat an illness or infection. The inflammation would then go away once you are healthy and free of the illness.
In ulcerative colitis patients, the inflammation persists long after the immune system should have finished its job. The body continues to send white blood cells into the lining of the intestines, where they produce chronic inflammation and ulcers.
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Crohns Disease Vs Ulcerative Colitis Nclex Practice Questions
1. True or False: Crohns Disease and ulcerative colitis are two forms of IBS .
2. Select ALL the options below that are similarities between ulcerative colitis and Crohns Disease:
A. Each cause inflammation
B. Both affect the serosa layer
D. They both increase colon cancer risk
E. The cause of both is unknown
D. The cure for both diseases includes total colectomy
3. Which medications are used in the treatment of Crohns Disease and ulcerative colitis? SELECT-ALL-THAT-APPLY:
A. Guanylate Cyclase-C agonists
4. ______________ is most commonly found in the terminal ileum and beginning of the colon.
5. ______________ affects the inner layer of the intestinal lining.
6. Which bowel disease starts in the rectum and migrates in a continuous fashion throughout the colon?
7. Which of the following is NOT a potential complication associated with ulcerative colitis?
A. Toxic megacolon
8. A patient has the following symptoms: urgent and frequent bowel movements of diarrhea that contains blood with pus and mucous, low hemoglobin/hematocrit, potassium level of 2.0. Based on the patients signs and symptoms, which disease does this describe?
9. A patient had a colonoscopy which showed a cobble-stone appearance of the GI lining. This is found in:
A. Cobble-stone appearance of the colon
B. Cullens Sign
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Overview Of Ulcerative Colitis
While it can be overwhelming to receive a chronic disease diagnosis, learning all you can about ulcerative colitis will prepare you to manage your symptoms and live a full life.
Have you or a loved one been recently diagnosed with ulcerative colitis? Or were you diagnosed years ago but still dont fully understand your disease? Check out our latest video chat to learn more.
Video Chat: Ulcerative Colitis 101
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the large intestine, also called the colon, that affects the lining of the colon and causes small sores, or ulcers, to form.
Those ulcers produce pus and mucous, which cause abdominal pain and the need to frequently empty your colon.
Ulcerative Colitis 101 This introductory video provides information on potential causes, symptoms, treatment and overall management of ulcerative colitis.
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 manifesting in scleritis, iritis, and conjunctivitis. Patients may be asymptomatic or experience redness, burning, or itching in 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. Ulcerative colitis is most commonly associated with uveitis and episcleritis.
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How Are Ulcerative Colitis And Colitis Different
A key difference is what triggers colitis. For instance, IBD is usually an autoimmune issue. Thatâs when your immune system attacks healthy tissue in your body. Other kinds of colitis can be the result of outside factors, such as germs or medical treatments.
People with UC or other kinds of IBD may also have inflammatory symptoms alongside bowel problems, including:
But those arenât the only distinctions. Hereâs a breakdown by colitis type:
Ulcerative colitis . This type of IBD causes sores and constant inflammation in the inner lining of your large intestine. UC often starts in the rectum and extends through the left side of your colon. But some people have colitis throughout most or all of their colon. Thatâs called extensive colitis or pancolitis.
Crohnâs colitis. This is a feature of Crohnâs disease, another type of IBD. Crohnâs can impact any part of your gastrointestinal tract â thatâs your mouth to your . Unlike UC, you may have healthy tissue in between spots of inflammation. Crohnâs disease can also affect many layers of your GI tract.
Microscopic colitis. This is another type of IBD. Itâs not related to ulcerative colitis or Crohnâs disease, but itâs associated with other autoimmune diseases. Like the name suggests, your doctor has to use a microscope to see any evidence of this kind of colitis.
There are two main forms:
Some experts think collagenous and lymphocytic colitis may be different phases of the same condition.
What Are The Symptoms Of Ulcerative Colitis
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis vary from person to person. Common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include
- passing blood with your stool or rectal bleeding
- cramping and pain in the abdomen
- passing mucus or pus with your stool
- tenesmus, which means feeling a constant urge to have a bowel movement even though your bowel may be empty
- an urgent need to have a bowel movement
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis may vary in severity. For example, mild symptoms may include having fewer than four bowel movements a day and sometimes passing blood with stool. Severe symptoms may include having more than six bowel movements a day and passing blood with stool most of the time. In extremely severeor fulminantulcerative colitis, you may have more than 10 bloody bowel movements in a day.3,4
Some symptoms are more likely to occur if ulcerative colitis is more severe or affects more of the large intestine. These symptoms include
You may have periods of remissiontimes when symptoms disappearthat can last for weeks or years. After a period of remission, you may have a relapse, or a return of symptoms.
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Colon Cancer And Ulcerative Colitis
Long-term ulcerative colitis is associated with a risk of colon cancer. However, as treatments improve and it becomes more manageable to keep the inflammation caused by ulcerative colitis at bay, the risk has lowered. Regular colonoscopies with biopsies are usually recommended to keep watch for any changes in the cells of the colon.
Who Is Affected
Ulcerative colitis can occur at any age, though most people are diagnosed in their mid-30s.
Men and women are equally likely to be affected, but older men are more likely to be diagnosed than older women.
The risk of developing ulcerative colitis is between 1.6 percent and 30 percent if you have a first-degree relative with the disease.1-3
It is not possible to confidently predict which, if any, family members will develop ulcerative colitis, even though there is an increased risk of IBD based on family history.
Ulcerative colitis can affect people of any racial or ethnic group.
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