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 Crohns disease.
Can Inflammatory Bowel Disease Be Prevented Or Avoided
IBD cannot be prevented, but there are lifestyle changes you can make to minimize symptoms. The best thing you can do is to take good care of yourself. Its important to eat a healthy diet. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may ask you to reduce the amount of fiber or dairy products in your diet. It also may be necessary to limit or avoid caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages. In addition to eating well, you need to get enough rest and exercise regularly. Its also important that you learn to manage the stress in your life. When you become overly upset by things that happen at home or at work, your intestinal problems can get worse.
How Do We Diagnose Ulcers
We may suspect ulcers by your symptoms, but we typically diagnose ulcers at upper endoscopy, when we examine your stomach with a thin flexible tube with a light and camera on the end. During endoscopy, we also obtain samples of the ulcer and the adjacent tissues, to test for cancer cells and for infection with H pylori.
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How Is It Treated
Treatment can cure an ulcer and prevent complications. Treatment can also keep you from getting another ulcer. Your healthcare provider may prescribe:
- Antibiotics to treat H. pylori
- Medicine to lower the acid in your stomach
- Medicine that coats and protects the lining in your stomach and intestine from acid
You may stay in the hospital if your symptoms are severe. If you have a lot of bleeding, a hole made by the ulcer through your intestinal wall, or a blockage in your stomach or intestines, you may need surgery.
Some medicines used to treat ulcers can hurt an unborn baby. Tell your provider if you are thinking of getting pregnant or if you get pregnant while being treated for an ulcer.
What Should I Do If I Think I Have A Stomach Ulcer
Always seek medical care for a stomach ulcer. While you may be able to manage symptoms temporarily with over-the-counter medications, these wont heal the ulcer. You need to identify and treat the underlying cause. An untreated ulcer can lead to serious complications, even if your symptoms are mild. The major cause of stomach ulcers, H. pylori infection, can also lead to other complications.
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Youve Had Unexplained Vomiting
From time to time, the nausea brought on by ulcers may become so intense that it could actually cause you to vomit. Frequent vomiting is never a fun experience, but whatever you do, stay away from medications like ibuprofen and aspirin when treating the condition and other ulcer symptoms. According to Dr. Sengupta, these over-the-counter pain medications actually put you at a higher risk of developing ulcers, and can make your current ulcers worse.
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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Favorite Orgs For Essential Uc Info
CCF is considered the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to finding the cure for UC and Crohns. The organization is at the forefront of IBD research and works to educate, empower, and support individuals afflicted with these diseases. Find your local chapter by visiting the CCF website.
This research institute at Virginia Mason in Seattle is one of the few establishments devoted to finding the causes of autoimmune diseases like UC and their cures. Benaroya has already helped advance research in more than 80 diseases of the immune system. The autoimmune life blog provides information on community events and personal stories from patients living with an autoimmune disease.
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What Happens If You Have Ulcers In Your Colon
It can involve your entire colon. The inflammation causes your bowel to move its contents rapidly and empty frequently. As cells on the surface of the lining of your bowel die, ulcers form. The ulcers may cause bleeding and discharge of mucus and pus.
What heals ulcers in the colon?
Treatments for ulcerative colitis include medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressors, and steroids to control inflammation and other symptoms of the condition. Surgery to remove the colon and rectum is another form of treatment if medication doesnt prove effective.
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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.
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What Causes Peptic Ulcers
In the past, experts thought lifestyle factors such as stress and diet caused ulcers. Today we know that stomach acids and other digestive juices help create ulcers. These fluids burn the linings of your organs.
Causes of peptic ulcers include:
- H. pylori bacteria . Most ulcers are caused by an infection from a bacteria or germ called H. pylori. This bacteria hurts the mucus that protects the lining of your stomach and the first part of your small intestine . Stomach acid then gets through to the lining.
- NSAIDs . These are over-the-counter pain and fever medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Over time they can damage the mucus that protects the lining of your stomach.
When To Call The Doctor
- Cramps or pain in your lower stomach area
- Bloody diarrhea, often with mucus or pus
- Diarrhea that cannot be controlled with diet changes and drugs
- Rectal bleeding, drainage, or sores
- Fever that lasts more than 2 or 3 days, or a fever higher than 100.4Â°F without an explanation
- Nausea and vomiting that lasts more than a day
- Skin sores or lesions that do not heal
- Joint pain that keeps you from doing your everyday activities
- A feeling of having little warning before you need to have a bowel movement
- A need to wake up from sleeping to have a bowel movement
- Failure to gain weight, a concern for a growing infant or child
- Side effects from any drugs prescribed for your condition
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Stomach And Intestine Ulcers
A stomach and intestine ulcer, otherwise known as a peptic ulcer, is essentially an open and sometimes bleeding sore that forms when the inner lining of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum ruptures. The lining is weakened when digestive acids break down the protective barrier. This causes significant burning abdominal pain that can last for days, weeks or even months at a time, and which becomes worse when the stomach is empty. Antacids will sometimes give a brief respite or eating foods that are gentle on the stomach, but ulcers will often return even after they have healed if the patient hasnt sought medical attention.
There are two different types of peptic ulcers gastric, which occur in the stomach, and duodenal, which occur in the small intestine. Most peptic ulcers are caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Most people have this bacteria in the protective lining of the stomach wall and small intestine. The bacteria can often inflame the inner layer of the stomach and small intestine, which causes ulcers. Another cause of peptic ulcers is the frequent use of certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug pain relief medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. A common misconception is that ulcers are developed from stress, spicy food, alcohol, or smoking cigarettes. These lifestyle choices dont develop ulcers but can aggravate an existing ulcer, or prevent one from healing.
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Living With Inflammatory Bowel Disease
If you have inflammatory bowel disease, you are at an increased risk of colon cancer. Talk to your doctor about when to start screening for colon cancer and how often to have screening.
Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis keep coming back and their symptoms can be unpredictable. This can cause patients who have these illnesses to become depressed. If you feel depressed, talk with your family doctor. An antidepressant medicine could help you feel better.
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How To Treat And Prevent Ulcers
The best way to avoid ongoing uncontrolled ulcers in your GI tract is to work with your gastroenterologist. By starting and staying on a medication for your IBD, ulcers and inflammation will be limited or more often heal completely. To know if a medication is working, your GI provider will evaluate and treat until there are very few or no ulcers or inflammation at all. It is at that point that we know you are on the correct treatment at the correct dose.
Staying on your medication is key, so in addition to regularly seeing your gastroenterologist, you can also see a GI Health Coach. Health coaches help to make sure that you are taking your medications as prescribed and continuing healthy life habits to support your treatment. They can also help you make and stick with any lifestyle changes if needed. With this strategy, you can reclaim your health and avoid ulcers and the damage they cause.
Medically reviewed by Michael Currier, MSPAS, PA-C
Is Ulcerative Colitis Curable
Currently, theres no nonsurgical cure for UC. Treatments for the inflammatory disease aim to extend periods of remission and make flare-ups less severe.
For people with severe UC, curative surgery is a treatment option. Removing the entire large intestine will end the symptoms of UC.
This procedure requires your doctor to create a pouch on the outside of your body where waste can empty. This pouch can become inflamed and cause side effects.
For that reason, some people choose to have only a partial colectomy. In this surgery, your doctor only removes the parts of the colon that are affected by UC.
While these surgeries can help ease or end symptoms of UC, they can have adverse effects and possible long-term complications. Read more about these issues to determine if surgery is an option for you.
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What Role Does Diet And Nutrition Play In Ulcerative Colitis
Diet does not cause the development of ulcerative colitis nor can any special diet cure the disease. However, the foods you or your child eat may play a role in managing symptoms and lengthening the time between flareups.
Some foods may make symptoms worse and should be avoided, especially during flareups. Foods that trigger symptoms are different from person to person. To narrow down what foods affect you, keep track of what you eat each day and how you feel afterward .
Problem foods often include:
- High sugar foods and drinks.
- Carbonated beverages.
- High-fiber foods.
In addition to the problem foods listed above, infants, children and teenagers can also experience issues with:
- Dairy products.
Keep a careful eye on your childs diet and nutrition. Their appetite may decrease during a flareup and they might not eat enough to stay healthy, and grow. Also, the inflammation caused by ulcerative colitis may keep their digestive tract from absorbing enough nutrients. This can also affect your childs health. For these reasons, you may have to increase the amount of calories your child consumes.
Its best to work with your provider and nutritionist to come up with a personalized diet plan if you or your child has ulcerative colitis.
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How Can I Prevent A Stomach Ulcer From Occurring Or Returning
- Reduce NSAID use, if possible. Consider whether acetaminophen might substitute. If you take NSAIDs for medical reasons, talk to your doctor about reducing your dosage or switching your medication. Your doctor may also prescribe another medicine to take with NSAIDs to protect your stomach lining.
- Reduce other irritants that may contribute to too much stomach acid or erode your stomach lining, including smoking and alcohol use.
- Take an H. pylori breath test to find out if you have an overgrowth of the bacteria.
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What Causes Ulcers
The most common cause of peptic ulcers is Helicobacter pylori bacteria. This strain of bacteria is common in the protective lining of many peoples stomach and small intestine. Though the bacteria does not cause problems in most people, in some cases it can lead to ulcers.
Common pain relief medications can also alter the bodys normal ulcer defense mechanisms, leading to peptic ulcers in the stomach or duodenum. People who take aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are at increased risk of developing peptic ulcers.
Ulcers occasionally result from tumors of the stomach wall, such as lymphomas or cancer of the glands of the stomach.
What Is The Cause
Normally the lining of the intestine normally keeps the intestine from being hurt by stomach acid and digestive juices. If this protective layer breaks down, stomach acids can damage the walls of the intestine and cause an ulcer. You may get an ulcer when:
- You have bacteria called Helicobacter pylori . These bacteria cause most duodenal ulcers. When H. pylori bacteria infect the intestine, the infection can weaken the lining of the intestine.
- You regularly take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen. These medicines irritate the lining of the stomach and upper intestine, making it easier for stomach acid to damage the lining.
- Your stomach makes too much acid.
While they may not cause ulcers, some things may make ulcers worse, increase pain, or slow ulcer healing, such as:
- Smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco
- Drinking alcohol
- Eating foods with a high acid content, such as oranges or tomatoes
- Drinking coffee and colas
You are more likely to get a duodenal ulcer if you have a family history of ulcers. Overall, the problem is more common in men than women. Most ulcers first happen between ages 40 and 50.
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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.