What is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative Colitis is one of the two main types of IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease).
Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic condition that causes inflammation and sores in the colon – specifically the inner lining of the colon. The inflammation and sores are often centred to the lower parts of the colon and the rectum, also known as the large bowel.
The inflammation and sores cause ulcers on the surface of the bowel lining. In turn, the ulcers lead to bleeding and mucus. If a bigger part of the colon is affected, the symptoms become worse.
Ulcerative Colitis makes it hard for the colon to absorb water from food, which leads to watery stool. The condition also affects how much waste the colon can keep. This means that the need to use a bathroom can come very suddenly and urgently.
What causes Ulcerative Colitis?
Doctors are not sure what causes Ulcerative Colitis. What they do know is that it’s not caused by eating certain kinds of food. It’s likely caused by a combination of genetics, environment and an overactive immune system.
One in five people who live with Ulcerative Colitis has a blood relative with the same condition. It’s most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 15 to 35.
Ulcerative Colitis is individual
Ulcerative Colitis is a highly individual condition. That means that everyone who lives with Ulcerative Colitis experience it differently. Some people experience a lot of pain and issues, while others can experience less.
There can also be long periods of no pain or symptoms. These periods are called “remission”. But since Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic condition, it can come back at any time. This is called a “flare-up” or a “relapse”.
There is currently no cure to Ulcerative Colitis, but different treatments can help relieve the symptoms. This includes medication and in some cases also surgery.