Ulcerative colitis is swelling and irritation in the rectum and colon. It is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
No one knows what causes ulcerative colitis, but its symptoms are treatable and can provide relief.
Marshfield Clinic has specialists trained in treatment of colitis who can help children lead full, active lives.
Certain medications can help your symptoms. These may include:
- Anti-inflammatory medication (called 5-ASA compounds) can help to reduce swelling and discomfort over longer periods of time.
- Corticosteroids to help reduce inflammation (swelling, irritation) and are often used for short periods only.
- Antibiotics fight the bacteria that can lead to colitis. In some cases, antibiotics also help reduce inflammation.
- Immunosuppressives treat the part of your body that fights disease (the immune system). By treating the immune system, inflammation may be reduced. Immunosuppressives can be taken for long periods but you may need to see your doctor more often than usual for monitoring.
- Biologics are antibodies (virus fighting agents) that rid the body of the major inflammatory chemicals causing inflammation and ulceration.
- Certain foods can worsen symptoms. You may need to change what you eat and keep track of foods that cause problems. These foods vary from person to person but high-fiber foods (such as fresh vegetables) and high-fat foods (such as dairy products and red meat) cause symptoms in many people.
- To a lesser degree, stress also can worsen symptoms. Reducing stress may help. Techniques like relaxation exercises, meditation, and deep breathing can help you control stress. A Marshfield Clinic physician will be able to tell you more about these.
Surgery may help control colitis by relieving digestive tract symptoms. Surgery can remove a severely affected part of the digestive tract. If this is an option for you, a Marshfield Clinic specialist can give you more information.