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5 Common Signs of Ulcerative Colitis

5 Common Signs of Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects your colon and rectum. The condition is chronic, and can trigger painful and frustrating symptoms that affect your quality of life.

At the Rivas Digestive Center in Hollywood, Florida, board-certified gastroenterologist, John M. Rivas, MD, specializes in diagnosing and treating this painful disease.

Many people wonder if their digestive symptoms point to ulcerative colitis. The answer depends on several factors, and only a gastroenterologist can diagnose ulcerative colitis since other digestive disorders may cause similar symptoms. 

To help determine if you need to seek help for ulcerative colitis, here’s a closer look at what’s involved with the condition, five common signs you might have it, and the ways we can help. 

What is ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic disease that affects your large intestine. UC causes open sores, or ulcers, to develop in your colon. The condition is still being studied, but research shows it develops because of an overactive immune response to a viral or bacterial infection. 

Anyone can get UC, including young children. Some factors increase your risk of getting UC, including:

Some studies show that using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) frequently may also increase your risk of getting UC.

What are five common signs of ulcerative colitis? 

UC symptoms can vary depending on where in your digestive tract the inflammation occurs and the severity of your condition. Some of the most common signs of the disease include: 

  1. Urgent need to move your bowels/diarrhea
  2. Abdominal pain and/or cramping
  3. Chronic fatigue
  4. Mucus or blood in the stool
  5. Getting up at night to move your bowels

It’s important to note that without treatment, UC symptoms tend to progress or get worse over time. Untreated UC can also lead to the development of new symptoms, including issues that may seem unrelated, like joint pain, red, sore eyes, and mouth sores. 

Are there treatments for ulcerative colitis?

Yes. Treatment for UC begins with an accurate diagnosis. Dr. Rivas starts by reviewing your medical history and talking to you about your current and past symptoms. He then performs a physical exam and orders additional tests to help diagnose your condition. 

No cure exists for UC. However, Dr. Rivas has years of experience helping patients manage and control its symptoms. Rather than a one-size-fits all treatment, Dr. Rivas customizes your UC treatment plan to fit your needs and the severity of your symptoms. 

The goal of treatment is to keep your UC in remission, which helps improve your quality of life and minimizes swelling or inflammation. Different therapies may include:

There are also UC-specific medications, like JAK inhibitors and S1P-receptor modulators that can help with more advanced cases of active UC. In severe cases, Dr. Rivas may recommend surgical intervention. 

Find out if your symptoms point to ulcerative colitis by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone at the Rivas Digestive Center in Hollywood, Florida. 

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