An issue a patient diagnosed with ulcerative colitis must quickly tackle is exploring treatment alternatives. This might include seeing both a gastroenterologist and a surgeon. Fortunately, the list of ulcerative colitis treatment options continues to grow.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease are the two primary types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). UC is a chronic disorder affecting around 700,000 Americans, says the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).
UC is an inflammation of the lining of the colon (large intestine). Managing this type of IBD is a difficult for many patients, who must cope with symptoms like diarrhea, pain, rectal bleeding, and overpowering fatigue. Sometimes months or even years pass before the illness flares again.
Although researchers have failed to pinpoint the cause of this type of IBD, about 20 percent of patients have a close relative with the same disorder. Recent research leans toward a flaw in the natural response of the body’s immune system. While medical treatments and dietary changes can help manage the disease, the only cure is removal of the colon.
According to the Mayo Clinic, these types of drugs are used to manage UC:
Some of these medications can cause serious side effects. A physician can help each patient weigh risks against benefits.
Up to a third of UC patients might need surgery due to complications or unsuccessful medical therapy, CCFA reports. According to Cedars-Sinai®, surgeons perform several types of procedures after removal of the colon and rectum:
A more recent development is the Barnett Continent Intestinal Reservoir (BCIR). This internal pouch features an improved design over those associated with earlier continent ileostomies. For many patients dissatisfied with earlier surgeries, the BCIR offers convenience and improved quality of life.