Gastrointestinal Diseases

Ulcerative colitis

It is a chronic disease, which affects the innermost lining of the large intestine often (the lower part of the colon and rectum), causing inflammation or swelling and ulcers called ulcers on the innermost lining of the large intestine and resulting in diarrhea and bleeding.

The large intestine is the largest part of the gastrointestinal system, and it is responsible for absorbing water from indigestible food residues, the colon contains 4 parts:

  • Ascending colon.
  • Transverse colon.
  • Descending colon.
  • the sigmoid colon and ends in the rectum.

The exact cause of the disease is unknown, although genetic and environmental factors play a role in the disease development. Previously, diet and stress were suspected, but these factors may exacerbate the disease does not cause it. Several factors are likely to play a role in its development, such as:

  • Inheritance: Inherited genes may increase the infection risk.
  • Overactive intestinal immune system: Abnormal immune reaction in the Intestine.
  • When a person with a genetic allergy is exposed to a stimulus (such as infection, etc.), the immune system is stimulated and irritated, then the lining of the colon is recognized by immune system as foreign and attacked, leading to inflammation.

Risk factors:

  • Age, usually between 15 and 30 years old.
  • Family history, especially kinship of the first degree (brother, father, or son).

Symptoms usually appear gradually over time not suddenly, and it can vary from person to another, depending on the inflammation severity and the location of its occurrence, most people with it have mild to moderate symptoms and they may go through periods of no symptoms and irritation, which include:

  • Diarrhea with blood or pus.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Fatigue and poor health.
  • Nausea or Anorexia.
  • Weight loss.
  • High fever.
  • Sense of urgency to defecate even when the intestines are not full.
  • Anemia.

There are some symptoms that can occur outside the Gastrointestinal System, such as:

  • Arthritis of large joints (such as hips and knees).
  • Eyes inflammation and it appears as redness and itching.
  • Cholangitis (through which bile flows from the gallbladder and liver into the intestine to aid digestion).

When to see a doctor:
When a constant change in intestine habits is observed or when the following is observed:

  • Blood in the stool.
  • Persistent diarrhea that does not respond to medications.
  • A fever that persists unexplained for more than a day or two.


  • Rectal bleeding.
  • Megacolon.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Eyes, skin, and joints inflammation.
  • Increased incidence of colon cancer.

Treatment depends on the severity of the disease and symptoms as well as the patient's health condition that appropriate for him also, treatment is mainly aimed at controlling the symptoms or preventing them from recurring, and it is either pharmacological or surgical, where the pharmacological is:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Corticosteroids
  • Immune system suppressors

The surgery is often a complete removal of the colon and rectum, with surgery to push out the stool naturally, as in some cases a permanent opening may be made in the abdomen through which stool is passed to collect it in an appendage sac. 

There is no way yet to prevent the disease but there are guidelines that can be taken to reduce symptoms.

Guidelines for people with ulcerative colitis:

  • Consult a physician before using medications (e.g., painkillers).
  • Stay away from foods that increase the disease severity.
  • Be sure to follow the diet prescribed by the doctor.
  • Divide meals into five or six small meals.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Talk to your doctor about whether you need dietary supplements or not.
  • Manage stress levels by doing physical activity, breathing exercises, and relaxation.
  • Take care to control symptoms before pregnancy.

Last Update : 23 August 2023 01:49 PM
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