Here’s How To Tell If That Pain In Your Abdomen Is Ulcerative Colitis
Abdominal pain is often associated with period pains. The pain you feel in your abdomen may not necessarily be menstrual pains, but could be more serious than that.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the colon and digestive tract that affects the large intestine. Ulcers may develop on the surface of the intestine lining, causing bleeding and mucus. Fortunately, ulcerative colitis is not contagious.
Women’s Health spoke to gastroenterologist Dr Ian Marr about the ins and outs of ulcerative colitis.
Most people develop ulcerative colitis before the age of 30. Dr Marr says the disease affects all races, but is most common among white people. Men and women are equally affected.
Suspicious of the symptoms?
The common symptoms include: Frequent diarrhoea with blood or mucus in the stools. Other symptoms include fever, fatigue and unexpected weight loss.
Ulcerative colitis can be managed through treatment, depending on the severity of the case. “Once the diagnosis of UC has been established (usually by a colonoscopy and biopsy), it’s essential that it’s managed by a specialist gastroenterologist. Ulcerative colitis is not a curable disease and tends to follow a pattern of relapsing and remitting (unless the entire colon is removed surgically). However, it is hugely modifiable by medication,” he says.
Ulcerative colitis affects different parts of the colon and body in different people, and your doctor will start you on a regime that’s specific to you. Surgery is indicated in severe cases that are resistant to medical treatment where the entire colon and rectum are usually removed.
Is it hereditary?
Conditions associated with ulcerative colitis
- Anaemia – a red blood cell disorder caused by lack of iron.
- Blood clots – clumps of blood formed inside the body.
- Hepatitis – inflammation of the liver.
- Thin and weak bones.
- Mouth ulcers and skin conditions.